Fatimah Tuggar

Alexander Gronsky’s work SCHEMA (2016) develops into something I would describe as ‘edgy’; as can be observed in my post Alexander Gronsky. Fatimah Tuggar takes this edginess a step further. She creates montages, which although deliberately unbelievable, challenge relevant issues and contemporary debates like materialism, cultural differences and technology. Interestingly, Gronsky’s work SCHEMA (2016) might all be straight photography that is so full of unlikely coincidences that it looks like it has been digitally altered. Tuggar’s work in general disregards the believability element of photography (even though it is largely comprised of photographic elements). Instead Tuggar concentrates on constructing believable and telling relationships in the subject matter from which her montages are assembled. In this way Tuggar and Gronsky’s working methods are quite different and on reflection Tuggar’s work reminds me of John Goto’s body of work; for example . Yet Gronsky’s and Tuggar’s work in their own individual ways take on important contemporary issues like change (in the case of Gronsky) and technology and its social and cultural implications (in the case of Tuggar).

Tuggar’s montages are always packed full of detail; she chooses to use busy backgrounds and there is a lot of colour to take in. I think she appropriates (secondary source) material like this for a particular reason. The reason is that the technology which is influencing her making the montages and she is sourcing the montages from is alluring and profuse. Busy colour and packed scenes is a way of reflecting technology’s ubiquity and influence, especially in advertising. Indeed a lot of her work could be mistaken for an advertising campaign at first glance before subversive meanings start to be recognised by the viewer.

© Fatimah Tuggar (2000) 'Lady and the Maid'
Fig. 1 © Fatimah Tuggar – ‘Lady and the Maid’ (2000)

Meanings I infer from her work is contrast in culture from Western to African, with a particular emphasis on African people becoming accustomed to Western influences like technology. The inspiration for her body of work is no doubt founded in her own experiences; Tuggar originated in Nigeria before moving to England and now lives in America. Tuggar must be interested in her own background/current circumstances and uses this as a basis for her artistic work. I have found similarly that producing work that interests me personally is vital and coincidentally I am producing a body of work that is local to where I live.

© Fatimah Tuggar (2005) 'Nebulous Wait'
© Fatimah Tuggar – ‘Nebulous Wait’ (2005)

I have contemplated forgoing a realistic look to my composites and incorporating elements from other photographs that were taken at different places or by different people. While the realism of the image might be given up, the meaning of these composites can be much more deliberate. It also introduces a more light-hearted factor to topics that might be sombre because the elements of the montage are obviously and deliberately superimposed (not many of the shadows match up). The juxtapositions of the elements that make up the montage are quite humorous in Tuggar’s and Goto’s respective bodies of work as well.

I enjoyed looking at Tuggar’s work (where I could find it). Tuggar comments incisively on her own life and roots while taking into account how technology and materialism have impacted on it. By appropriating presumably online material, Tuggar implements the technology she is commenting on into her work. This makes the work meta as the method of obtaining the material is the subject matter.


Fig. 1 Tuggar, F. (2000) Lady and the Maid. [Montage] At: https://www.coeval-magazine.com/coeval/fatimah-tuggar (Accessed 08/01/2020).

Fig. 2 Tuggar, F. (2005) Nebulous Wait. [Montage] At: https://www.coeval-magazine.com/coeval/fatimah-tuggar (Accessed 08/01/2020).

Coeval Magazine. (2017) Fatimah Tuggar. At: https://www.coeval-magazine.com/coeval/fatimah-tuggar (Accessed 08/01/2020).

Goto, J. (2001) High Summer. At: http://www.johngoto.org.uk/summer/index.htm (Accessed 08/01/2020).

Gronsky, A. (2016) SCHEMA. At: https://www.alexandergronsky.com/6069674-schema (Accessed 08/01/2020).


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