Tahir Karmali, born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya now based in Brooklyn, NY. Having begun his career as an ink painter, he combines abstract painting with portraiture. Tahir picked up the camera as a creative outlet while he traveled and worked in Asia and Europe. In 2013, he moved into a studio at Kuona Trust in Nairobi to concentrate on his practice and began mixing his painting and photography practice. His first solo exhibit, “Value,” was a provocative show in Kenya attracting a lot of press, where he depicted male sex workers with their most valuable possession.
Working closely with found object artists and sculptors, Tahir was inspired to create his exhibit “Jua Kali” – where he his discusses themes around the Kenyan economy through the informal sector. He won the POPCAP ’15 Prize for Contemporary African Photography and had the opportunity to show during Art Basel. His work is also part of the “Making Africa” Exhibit at the Guggenheim in Bilbao. Forbes named him as one of 15 Africans rebranding the face of the continent. Tahir received his Masters of Digital Photography at SVA and continues to experiment with mixed media, installation and digital photography.