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Paper Borders: Emma Nishimura and Tahir Carl Karmali

International Print Center New York is pleased to announce 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, transgenerational memory, and xenophobia. Using the materiality of print and handmade paper, the two- and threedimensional 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 textbased 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.

Print Week (October 20–27), Date and Time TBA: History as Matrix, a conversation with Emma Nishimura and Tahir Carl Karmali moderated by Regine Basha, Senior Program Associate, Civitella Ranieri Foundation.

Saturday, December 7, 1–4 PM: Drop-In Papermaking Workshop with Tahir Carl Karmali.

Please visit the 'External Link' for more information about the artists.

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