Emma Nishimura and Tahir Carl Karmali “Paper Borders”

International Print Center New York

poster for Emma Nishimura and Tahir Carl Karmali “Paper Borders”

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International Print Center New York presents its first two-person exhibition, Paper Borders, which brings into dialogue the works of Emma Nishimura (b. 1982, Toronto) and Tahir Carl Karmali (b. 1987, Nairobi), artists who share a commitment to unearthing historical and ongoing stories of migration, trans- generational memory, and xenophobia. Using the materiality of print and handmade paper, the two- and three- dimensional works in this exhibition speak to cross-cultural and deeply embedded global struggles. Here, the precarity of paper becomes a metaphor for the precarity of place.

This exhibition is the first in-depth New York presentation of Nishimura’s work, which centers on the Japanese Canadian Internment during World War II. Through a practice rooted in her own family history, inherited narratives, and archival research, Nishimura uses etching, photo-transfer, hand-papermaking, and sculpture to literally and symbolically wrap stories, images, and memories of the internment into new forms. In her prominent work An Archive of Rememory (2016–ongoing) she shapes these stories into traditional Japanese bundles called furoshiki. Through an installation of hundreds of paper furoshiki, as well as a series of text- based etchings, this little-known piece of history is brought to light.

A cross-disciplinary artist, Karmali creates large-scale paper works and installations that engage materials and processes surrounding issues of colonization, nationality, and authenticity. Karmali’s handmade paper incorporates government-issued documents that trace family history—from his paternal family’s paperwork showing their change in citizenship after Kenya’s 1963 independence from Britain, to his own application for a visa to relocate from Nairobi to New York. Dried on rusted metal plates, Karmali’s paper sheets absorb abstract rust marks and folds that reference the land. With the addition of photo-transfer and collaged elements, these works unfold a layered, material record of lived experience.

The exhibition title reflects the dualities within the words ‘paper’ and ‘borders.’ Paper acts as an apparatus for mark-making and sculptural experimentation, or as a pass validating identity and allowing movement from one territory to another; while borders can be hard lines between territories, or fragile and shifting.

The accompanying publication will feature an essay on the dialogue between the works of both artists by Kelly Baum, Cynthia Hazem Polsky and Leon Polsky Curator of Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with artist biographies, a reading list, color illustrations, and studio photographs.

Emma Nishimura (b. 1982, Toronto) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto with a focus on printmaking, drawing, sound, and installation. She is a former IPCNY New Prints artist (2018/Summer) and was awarded a mentorship opportunity through the New Prints Artist Development Program. Nishimura was also the 2018 recipient of the Queen Sonja Print Award (QSPA) and the 30th Art in Print Prix de Print. As a QSPA awardee, she will be artist-in-residence at Atelje Larsen in Helsingborg, Sweden in August 2019. Her work has been exhibited at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia; MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie, Ontario; and the Nanjing Jinling Museum of Fine Art, China, among others. Nishimura is currently the Chair of Photography, Printmaking, and Publications at The Ontario College of Art and Design University.

Tahir Carl Karmali (b. 1987, Nairobi) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn since 2014. His work spans photography, installation, papermaking, printmaking, sculpture, and sound. Karmali’s work is currently on exhibition at The Shed, New York through August 25, 2019, and will be part of the exhibition Second Careers: Two Tributaries in African Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, opening in summer 2020. His work has previously been exhibited at LKB Gallery, Hamburg and Copenhagen; Circle Art Agency, Nairobi; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Kunsthal Rotterdam; and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, among others. Karmali has been an artist-in-residence at Triangle Arts Association, Pioneer Works, Trestle Gallery, the MacDowell Colony, and BRIC. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Sculpture at Brooklyn College.



from October 10, 2019 to December 18, 2019

Opening Reception on 2019-10-10 from 18:00 to 20:00

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