Permanent Collection/

Swallowing Soil

Tahir Karmali, 2022

Artist: Tahir Karmali
Medium: silk, cotton, liquid rubber, dissolved decommissioned police gun dye, soil, steel, steel nails, nuts, and bolts, spray paint, aluminum
Dimensions: 70 x 45 in / 177.8 x 114.3 cm


The work of Nairobi-born and Brooklyn-based artist Tahir Carl Karmali spans photography, installation, papermaking, sculpture, and sound, and concentrates thematically on migration, landscape/geology, labor, and belonging. His interest in material and process is integral to how he communicates narratives centered around global environmental and socio economic factors. In his words:“I am primarily an investigator of materials and design practices. I am focusing on their underlying source – as applications, as markers of cultural identity, or as exploitable artifacts. I am invested in transforming these materials into varying formats (sculptural installations and textile works) that are deceptively beautiful or attractive, as an art form, allowing the viewer to savor them as primary material before a layer of the trauma of migration, displacement, and labor slowly reveals itself.”

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