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

Dear Reader,

I pray that you are well. Happy Mawlid! The Mawlid is the birthday celebration for the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and it's a big holiday here in Cairo. I admit, in the US, Muslims don't celebrate it nearly as much as the rest of the world. In fact, it's often debated as to whether of not we should. Nonetheless, it's a beautiful day of dhikr, nasheeds, and celebrations with special candies to share here in Egypt and my family has the day off. I'm celebrating!

Caption: Me (Nsenga Knight) in my US summer studio while visiting my family. On the wall are drawings from my 2021 Sajda charcoal drawing series (right side) and the beginnings of my Fitra watercolor painting series (left). 

Last month I wrote a lot about why it's important for me to tell marginalized Black stories like that of Ibrahim Ibn Sori, Omar Ibn Said, and the Timbuktu manuscripts. Approaching the archive to bring light to the the marginalized stories of Black Muslims is a critical part of my artistic practice. Of the 10 autobiographical narratives written by enslaved Africans in the Americas, 5 of them were written by Black Muslims. And, the Omar Ibn Sori autobiography is the only surviving American slave narrative that was written in Arabic. It is also the only autobiography written by a slave while he was still in slavery. Learning more about the African Muslims who were enslaved in the Americas is key to developing a truer picture of Africa, Black American culture, American history and Islam. Please check out my blog to catch up on this blog series. In it, I share a few artworks I've created related to these ideas. 

On another note, alhumdulilah, this week I completed one of the paintings in my new Fitra series. You may remember  that I shared with you over the summer that I've been exploring color more in my work of late. I think it has something to do with me having a daughter for the first time. Definitely related to all of the small children I was hanging out with. I learn so much from them. Fitra is an Islamic concept related to our divine connection, authentic state, and natural disposition. Here's a detail of my newest work from the Fitra series:

Detail of Nsenga Knight 2022 Fitra: Amber, 18 x 24 inches, Watercolor


With Peace,


Nsenga Knight


P.S. Just a reminder: I release new posts like this one every week on my blog. To get my best content first, I suggest you follow my blog here.

P.P.S. The Tawaf/ Sa'y series (artwork below) is inspired by the memoir of Ali Shariati and the pilgrimage footsteps of exemplars - Malcolm X, and of course Hajjar - the Black woman who immigrated to Mecca with courageous determination to survive in a seemingly inhabitable land. The text reads, "Mankind in Love With the Truth." You can inquire about my Tawaf/ Sa'y series here on my website.


Nsenga Knight 2018, Tawaf/ Sa'y: Mankind (In Love With the Truth), 22.5 x 22.5 inches, Oil and Gesso on Vegetable Parchment Paper (available as a Limited Edition Print)




Copyright © 2022 Nsenga Knight, All rights reserved.

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