On view August 17–October 11, 2018
This exhibit uses social practice projects, geometric drawings, text paintings, photographs and oral history recordings to draw connections between people, places, and time. Using historical archives, memoirs and ritual, artworks are influenced by Islamic geometric art and the Black experience. In her series As the Veil Turns, visitors can listen to the enthralling stories of Black women who converted to Islam prior to 1975–the pioneers of Brooklyn’s oldest Muslim communities. Last Rite is about Malcolm X’s pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964 (his fulfillment of his last religious duty), and his funeral rites. Ritual and Revolution puts sociologist Ali Shariati’s reflections on pilgrimage in dialogue with 10th century astronomical renderings.
Nsenga Knight is a first-generation Black American Muslim woman from Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, and has exhibited her work at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, Brooklyn, the New Museum for Contemporary Art, New York, and PS1 MoMA, among others. She currently lives and works in Cairo, Egypt.
Each of my artistic projects is responding to my self-reflexive question: who am I and what is my place in this world? My art works exist as invitations to examine new possibilities that broaden our collective imaginations and challenge traditional boundaries of race, nationhood and religion.
Special thanks to Dr. Rose Aslan and the Cal Lutheran Religion Department for contributing to this exhibition. Image: Nsenga Knight, Other Stars Don’t Behave So, ink and wax drawing, 20 x 30 inches, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.