"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. I feel like it had been a while since I attended the jumuaa prayers here in Cairo. I guess I got caught up in some work things, or was just underprepared for what is usually a very exciting time when we go to the mosque in Cairo. But, alhumdulilah, we made it this week!

Caption: Me (Nsenga Knight) and my daughter Sajda at Masjid Al Azhar in Cairo, Egypt. October 28th, 2022 

One the many things that I love about going to the Al Azhar is that you will see and meet people from all over the world of every color and nationality standing side by side in prayer. There's so much history in these spaces yet the place remains alive. Each Friday there is also a janaza prayer (Islamic funeral prayer) and a deceased body passes through in the simplest of caskets reminding us all of the passage of time and the temporal nature of our existence.

Below are some sights of Cairo after jumuaa prayer. These photos include Khal El Khalili market, Neguib Mahfouz Cafe, and another beautiful mosque and former madrassa whose name I cannot remember.

I hope that my emails and blog posts give you a window to the world that I exist in and the ideas that matter to me the most and are expressed in my artwork.
 For me, as a Black and Muslim American international artist, I often get frustrated by the lack of knowledge that arts leaders and the world in general (yes, including most Black folks and Muslims) have about Islam and Black Muslims in particular. Islam is not new to America, and it is certainly not new to Black people - it's history is marginalized within an already marginalized story of Black people. Yet, nearly half of Africa is Muslim and thirty percent of the Africans enslaved in America were Muslim too.

Because most people don't have a reference for the many intersections that form the particularity of my Black and Islamic identity, I write to proactively share some of the context and content that helps shape who I am and the artwork I create. (Don't say I ain't never told you nuthin...)This week I wrote about how Black Muslims like Omar Ibn Said - the African scholar who was enslaved in America in and wrote the only slave narrative in Arabic, form a bridge to understanding Africa, Islam and important aspects of Black and American history which have been ignored for too long. This is part of a larger series I've been writing about the connection between Black American history and the Timbuktu West African Islamic manuscripts written in Arabic. Please check out my blog to catch up on the blog series. In it, I share a few artworks I've created related to these ideas. 

On another note, I have some big news to share soon regarding my studio. I was also featured in Artwork Archive's in celebration of International Artist Day.


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)


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 above) 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.




Copyright © 2022 Nsenga Knight, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp