One Body.

One of my personal highest values is connection. It’s a running thread in all of my artistic projects, and it’s what motivates me to create art in the first place; to move from inspiration to action. Art is my way of connecting to my higher self, and aligning my mind, body, and spirit with the world. As an interdisciplinary artist, the mode of creation -be it photography, painting, or drawing- isn’t the focal point of my practice. The most important thing is that a transformative connection is made through the work. At times my interest in the subject of the artwork stems from the idea of connection as is the case with my Tawaf/ Sa’y series. Those works are a formal exploration of reconciled binaries in the hajj ritual which brings people from all over the world together to a place where they’re all equal, and exist together in harmony and unity. 

Nsenga Knight, 2018, Tawaf/ Sa’y: Mankind 22.5 x 22.5 inches, Oilstick, Olive Oil and Gesso on Vegetable Parchment Paper. Read more about Tawaf/ Sa’y.

“The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever”

Messenger of Allah Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

This hadith strikes me as critical to contemplate during this time when we’re witnessing the occupation of Palestine and the bloodshed happening in front of our eyes right now. The people calling for ceasefire, peace, and an end to genocide in Palestine are calling for the oneness of our human body. No one with a message of peace and empathy should be attacked or chastised as we’re seeing now. We’re urged by our pure nature, our fitra, to strive for peace and form strong bonded communities.

Nsenga Knight, Fitra: Amber (Sajda), 2022, 6 x 6 inches, Watercolor on Clay Board. Read more about Fitra: Amber.

TawhidOneness is the absolute most foundational concept in Islam – which inspires and motivates all of my work. We need to remember that our humanity connects us all together, and this is why so many of us are hurting as we watch Israel oppress, displace, and commit genocide of Palestinian people (now numbering over 12,000 innocent men, women, and children since the October 2023 attacks started) right before our eyes. I believe that oppression harms the oppressor too because they wrong their own souls in order to justify their wrong actions. It’s time for our body to heal spiritually and physically.

Nsenga Knight, Tawaf/ Sa’y: All, Oilstick, Olive Oil and Gesso on Vegetable Parchment Paper, 22.5 x 22.5 in. Read more about Tawaf/ Sa’y.