AUG. 17 – OCT 11, 2018



OCT. 9, 2018 6 pm


Nsenga Knight, Other Stars Don’t Behave So, 2013  ink and wax drawing, 20 x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist.


THOUSAND OAKS, CA, September 25, 2018Nsenga Knight: Other Stars, an exhibition of geometric drawings, text paintings, photographs and oral history recordings by Nsenga Knight will be on view at the Kwan Fong Gallery at California Lutheran University from August 17 – October 11, 2018. In conjunction with the Other Stars exhibition, art historian Halima Taha will present on the work of Knight in the context of the canon of African American artwork, with a focus on the overlapping influences of Western and Islamic abstraction in her work Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 6:00pm at the Ullman Conference Center 100/101 at CLU.

The exhibition includes a survey of Knight’s works from as early as 2007 such as As the Veil Turns her photography, video and oral history project on Black women in her hometown Brooklyn Muslim community who converted to Islam prior to 1975 and pioneered some of New York’s earliest still-existing mosques; and more recent works that place Malcolm X and Ali Shariati’s pilgrimage memoirs in sociological and formal conversation with Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Al-Bīrūnī’s 10th-century astronomical renderings.

Shameela copy.jpg

Nsenga Knight As the Veil Turns (Shameelah), 2007 Archival Inkjet Print, 30 x 20 in. Courtesy of the artist.


Each of my artistic projects is responding to my self-reflexive question: Who am I and what is my place in this world? My artworks exist as invitations to examine new possibilities that broaden our collective imaginations and challenge traditional boundaries of race, nationhood and religion. —Nsenga Knight

On October 9, 2018  Taha will present a discussion about Knight as a contemporary artist working in film, photography, paint,   and printmaking, exploring her place as an interdisciplinary artist whose visual statements are universal, yet part of the visual culture of the African Diaspora. Given the meteoric growth of art by artists of African descent in the worldwide market, Taha will discuss Knight’s presence within it and will highlight the market interest in work that provides insight into the global experience while ultimately provoking self-reflection.

Knight (b. 1981, Brooklyn, NY) has exhibited work at the Drawing Center, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, the New Museum for Contemporary Art and MoMA PS1. She received her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania and BA in Film from Howard University. She lives and works in Cairo, Egypt and New York.

Taha is a best-selling author, curator, appraiser and independent scholar. Taha is most well-known for her groundbreaking bestseller, Collecting African American Art: Works on Paper and Canvas (Crown), the first book to validate African American art as a viable asset and commodity within the international marketplace; which created a new market for publications and exhibitions on African American art. Her work advocates the importance and value of collecting art made by American artists of African descent. She has degrees in Liberal Arts, Arts Management & Cultural Policy from Sarah Lawrence College and New York University. Currently, Taha is the President of TahaThinks,LLC, a company that provides art advisory, appraisal, collection management, and speaker services.

The Kwan Fong Gallery is located in Soiland Humanities Center at the California Lutheran University. Admission is free. The gallery is open to the public 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Street parking is by permit 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parking lots are located on Mountclef Boulevard north and south of Olsen Road.

For more information, visit https://blogs.callutheran.edu/kwanfong/ and https://nsengaknight.com/


Nsenga Knight  




Rachel T. Schmid





What can artists do for freedom? | Reading The New Jim Crow

I read a lot of articles, chapters from books, watch and listen to lectures, but I haven’t sat down to complete reading a book from cover to cover in a while.


One of the books I’ve been eager to read is Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. I’ve seen her speak and listened to plenty of her interviews. Last week I finally decided to pick up her book from my local library.

Since I was maybe 10-years old and learned about the Thirteenth Amendment (Amendment XIII) to the United States Constitution which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime, I felt  that this exception in the thirteenth amendment was a loophole that could in practice re-enslave Black people.

Earlier this year, Michelle Alexander spoke at the Union Theological Seminary. She called the movement to end mass incarceration our current Abolitionist Movement.  Her choose of the word abolition struck a chord in me.

Many of us may not realize that even when Black people were enslaved in the Americas, many other Black folks were free. According to my family’s oral history, on my mothers side, some of our African ancestors came to the Americas freely and were never enslaved (I have to ask my grandfather more about this). What was the responsibility of those free Black people to those who were enslaved? I would like to think that if I were my free Black self over 150 years ago, I would have been working to free my enslaved brothers and sisters. Here we are in 2015  and too many Black people are still being enslaved through mass incarceration. One of the things that prompted me to ask “what can I do?” and finally pick up The New Jim Crow is the Rauschenberg Foundation’s  call to artists for project proposals that WILL FOCUS ON RACIAL JUSTICE THROUGH THE LENS OF MASS INCARCERATION. I didn’t apply for the grant because I am not doing any projects that deal with this issue, but I am so intrigued by the possibility that artists can effect some change in the incarceration of Black people in particular through our artistic practices. That’s a tall order! I know  there is so much more that I can do to think around and use my artistic practice to effect issues that I care about. Mass incarceration and reparations are two related issues that I am researching.

I’m also inspired by Michelle Alexander because she decided to write this groundbreaking book in the midst of giving birth to three children over the course of 4-years. Motherhood has given me a huge burst of creative energy too. I relate to her working between naps and at odd hours.IMG_4282.jpg That’s also how I’ve kept my artistic practice going for my first two years of being a mom. That’s how I’m writing this blog post too. Time is precious and it has to be directed towards achieving important goals.  Becoming a parent has made me ask myself what more can I do through my artistic practice to impact the lives of other people and constantly create work that addresses the issues that matter to me.