Posted: 29th July 2020
Karim Skalli is a photographer whose work challenges perceptions of everyday spaces and the banal. Skalli explores his own identity through his relationship with spaces, objects and people. Skalli’s work The Docks was exhibited in Ferens Art Gallery’s 2020 Open exhibition.
Ferens: What three words would you use to summarise your photography?
KS: Intuitive, warm, intimate.
Ferens: Your photograph in the 2020 Open, The Docks, has an otherworldly feel about it, how important is place to you in your work?
KS: Place is a really important factor in my work, I feel that place is formative of an individual’s identity. I photographed an area that has a large connection to the fishing industry and which is a big part of Hull’s history. I like to create a sense of ambiguity in my work so I captured it in a way that makes you question where it is and hopefully surprises you when you find out it’s Hull.
Ferens: How does it feel to have your work in the 2020 Open, and to view it alongside work by hundreds of other local and national artists?
KS: It’s always nice to have work featured in the Ferens, it’s such an important venue for Hull, so to have my work showcased there along with some other fantastic artists is great. It was extra special this year however, as I was able to exhibit work alongside my two brothers this year, each had an image in the exhibition.
Ferens: How has your practice changed since lockdown? (Have you been able to continue creating? And if so, how has it impacted what you capture?)
KS: I’m currently living in Japan were the lockdown is more lenient than the UK, so I’ve had chance to go out with my camera and make the most of my time off (whilst socially distancing of course) but I feel it’s a really important time for artists around the world to be creating work on the situation, we live in strange times and I feel it should be documented.
Ferens: Do you think art is more or less important in a time like this?
KS: I think art is more important. We need something to keep us going, keep us inspired and art does that, whatever the medium. I think some really important projects about the situation will be produced because of the lockdown and it could have a major impact on the way we view art moving forward.
Ferens: What gallery, museum or cultural venue are you most excited to visit when it reopens?
KS: Since I’m in Japan, it’ll be the Kyoto Museum of Art but if I was back in England it’d be to the Ferens and then maybe a trip to the Photographers Gallery in London.
You can find more of the artist’s work via the links below:
You can also listen to Karim discussing his work ahead of the 2020 Open preview with Phil White, from BBC Radio Humberside, on our blog page here –
2020 Open – BBC Radio Humberside Interviews
Or view the full YouTube playlist of Artist Interviews on our Hull Museums channel, where you can opt to turn on subtitles – Hull Museums YouTube – 2020 Open Playlist
Copyright for all artwork images remains with the Artist.