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    What else can a photograph be?

    by Jackie Karuti

     

    In a conversation with Bob Nickas for Interview magazine, Nikas comments on Wolfgang Tillmans’s work by saying that it seeks to answer the basic question, [1]What else can a photograph be? This question also describes the thoughts I had when I first encountered Tillmans’s work. Taking it as a starting point, I will first frame it by referencing work by several Kenyan artists whose approach towards working through lens-based media seeks to address this question.

     

    In his series [2]Undefined Constructions, James Muriuki observes a city whose architectural landscape is rapidly changing. Buildings under construction soar while swathed in brown tarp and multi-level scaffolding. The increase in seemingly misplaced high-rise buildings in Nairobi interrupts a skyline that is also scarred with brutalist, colonial era and Kikuyu-Gothic[3] architecture. In this regard, Muriukis work presents a reading of the city by questioning how sites of construction were determined and what purposes they might have served in the past. More…

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