Fatimah Tuggar, Robo Makes Dinner (2000).
Computer montage (inkjet on vinyl), 108 × 45 in.
Courtesy of BintaZarah Studios, New York.
Borrowing from the realms of advertising, popular entertainment, folklore, and the experiential, I use technology as medium, subject, and metaphor. My goal is to explore the diverse effects of power dynamics on the realities and interdependencies of our lives. Assemblage, collage, and montage are central to my methods of exploration.
In my computer montages and video collages, I bring together a variety of images to examine cultural nuances; the work’s meaning lies in the space between these diverse elements. I focus on individuals’ internal relationships within the image, tempered by the surrounding power structures.
My Web-based interactive works allow participants to create their own collages by selecting backgrounds and animated elements. Participants temporarily facilitate the construction or disruption of non-linear narratives, blending their personal perceptions with set components to produce real-time conversations that can be fluid, resistant, or expansive.
I employ assemblage when working with objects. I combine household implements with varying counterparts, but retaining the objects’ functionality so as not to render them mute. In these works, I address the implications of the juggling acts we perform as we adapt, modify, and are, in turn, modified by the devices and power systems that define our environments.
Fatimah Tuggar (born 1967, Kaduna), attended the Blackheath School of Art in London, 1983–85. She went on to receive a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, 1992; an MFA from Yale University, 1995; and conducted postgraduate independent study at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1995–96. She is a member of the art department faculty at the University of Memphis.
Tuggar’s work is informed by a broad range of practices, techniques, and materials, among them the artistic traditions of the Middle East, colonial and sub-Saharan Africa, and the European tradition of drawing and sculpture. Her collages and assemblages often combine West African and Western motifs or imagery to comment on technology and its impact on both cultures. Her computer montages and video collages blend videos and photographs taken by the artist with found materials drawn from commercials, magazines, and archival footage.
Tuggar’s work has been widely exhibited at international venues in over twenty-five countries. Her solo exhibitions include At the Water Tap, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York, 2000; Fusion Cuisine & Tell Me Again, The Kitchen, New York, 2000; Celebrations, Galeria Joao Graça, Lisbon, 2001; Video Room, Art & Public, Geneva, 2002; and Tell Me Again: A Concise Retrospective, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University, Durham, 2009. She has participated in numerous major group exhibitions, among them A Work in Progress: Selections from The New Museum Collection, New Museum, New York, 2001; Tempo, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2002; Transferts, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 2003; Africa Remix, Centre Georges Pompidou, 2005, and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2006; Bamako Biennial, Mali, 2005; Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, 2005; Street Art, Street Life, Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, 2008; On-Screen: Global Intimacy, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2009; and The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, 2010.
Tuggar is the recipient of prestigious accolades, such as the Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, 2001; the W. A. Mellon Research Fellowship, awarded by the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, 2008; and grants from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, New York, 1999, and the Wheeler Foundation, Brooklyn, 2000.