"My soul is from elsewhere, I am sure of that, and I intend to end up there."

caption: Nsenga Knight at the Kaaba on January 1, 2023, during her umrah pilgrimage to Mecca

Dear Reader,

I pray that you are well. Happy New Year

If it wasn't for the fact that it was me and I was there, I would find it hard to believe that I was in Mecca just earlier this week... then Medina. But, it's true, I was there, like a sort of Isra and Miraj of my own - less than 48hrs in the holy land performing the Umrah which consists of the Tawaf and Sa'y rituals for which my Tawaf/ Sa'y painting series takes it name. Unlike Hajj which can only be done during certain days of the Islamic Lunar Calendar, the Umrah is a shortened pilgrimage to Mecca that can be done at any time of the year. Being that Egypt is so close to Mecca (just a 2hr flight) and its easier than ever to get there, I thought I'd take the opportunity to follow my heart's yearning to go before coming back to the US this time.

To be honest, I feel like I have advanced superpowers now, alhumdulilah. IJS...

text painting with white circular text in foreground and black linear text in background

Nsenga Knight 2015, Tawaf/ Sa’y: Butterfly and Eagle, 22.5 x 22.5 inches, Oil Stick and Gesso on Vegetable Parchment Paper (available to purchase as Limited Edition Print)

Umrah was the perfect way to kick off the new year and I hope you are excited about 2023 too. I'll be sharing some more pics and reflections on my pilgrimage to Mecca on my blog, inshaAllah. If you follow me in the socials you may have already gotten a glimpse on IG or Facebook. As you know, before I even made this pilgrimage, I'd been imagining and reflecting on its form and substance in my art with the Tawaf/ Sa'y series, Orientation, and Square One paintings and drawings to name a few.

For 2023, I have plans for new artworks in my Fitra series, social practice collaborations (which I hope you'll partake in) and ideas specific to my 2022-2024 In Situ Fellowship and residency at the Queens Museum focusing on my work with archives. Now that I've actually performed the Tawaf and Sa'y, I'm quite sure that I'll have to reflect more deeply on my umrah experience in my artwork too inshaAllah.

With Peace,

Nsenga Knight

Caption: A self-portrait of artist Nsenga Knight in her Queens Museum studio where she is an Artist in Residence and 2022-2024 In Situ Fellow. Artworks on her studio wall include (l-r_ Tawaf/ Sa'y: Mankind, Square One, Tawaf/ Sa'y: Only, Plateau #1, and her Fitra: Amber series

P.S. If you are new to my artwork or want to dig deeper, visit my blog here to read and see more. Here's a link to a blog post related to my Tawaf/ Sa'y painting series for instance.

P.P.S. I believe that inspiration, imagination and creativity are tremendously important not just for making art, but also for bettering all aspects of our lives. I offer Pick My Brain strategy sessions to help people create a better future for themselves on their own terms, bi ithniAllah. I have a few spots left of my calendar for this month. Reply to this email if you'll like me to send you details on how we can work together.




Copyright © 2023 Nsenga Knight, All rights reserved.

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