“Through the experience of looking at/ participating in my work, I am inviting my audiences to challenge traditional boundaries of race, nationhood, and religion and create wholly new constructions that broaden our collective imaginations.”– Nsenga Knight
Through my social practice projects, geometric drawings, text paintings, prints and photographs, I am drawing lines of flight and connecting dots across geographical space and time to answer a pervasive question – who am I and what is my place in the world? My work borrows from materials found in historical archives, memoirs, rituals, and documentary photographs. I connect the aesthetics and theoretical concerns of new media, the conceptual art movement, minimalism, Suprematism, Islamic geometric art and the Black experience. My upbringing as a first-generation Black American Muslim informs my work in many respects and I seek to make critical contributions to conversations on the status of Black America, American society, politics, culture, and Islam in the 21st century.
Through my research, community collaborations, creative investigations and rigorous experimentation I gain a greater understanding of the universe that we exist in, and mark my place in the world as an African American Muslim woman artist. My approach to working with materials and ideas is part of a larger theoretical project that poses critical questions about process, power, representation and the construction of communal narratives. Through the experience of looking at/ participating in my work, I am inviting my audiences to challenge traditional boundaries of race, nationhood, and religion and create wholly new constructions that broaden our collective imaginations.
Nsenga Knight was born in 1981 in Brooklyn, New York to parents who immigrated to the United States from the Caribbean and South America during the early 70’s as teenagers and converted from Christianity to Islam as young adults, raising her within their new faith and country. She currently lives and works in Cairo, Egypt and New York. She has exhibited work at BIC Arts, AIR Gallery, the Drawing Center, New York, NY; Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Project Rowhouses, Houston, TX; Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, Pennsylvania; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, Brooklyn, NY; New Museum for Contemporary Art, New York, NY; PS1 MoMA among others.
Knight has been awarded with a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant, a Southern Constellations Fellowship, the Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant, and Brooklyn Arts Council grants. She has held artist residencies at BRICworkspace in Brooklyn, NY, the Drawing Center in New York, Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Galveston Artist Residency in Galveston, Texas, Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia, Film/Video Arts Center in New York, and was a BCAT/ Rotunda Gallery Multimedia Artist in Resident in Brooklyn, NY.
Knight earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree at the University of Pennsylvania, a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production at Howard University.