Artist Spotlight: Nsenga Knight

November 3, 2016

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

Knight was born and raised in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York and currently resides in Durham, North Carolina. She has exhibited work at Berman Museum of Art, Smack Mellon, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art,  Amistad Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania, the New Museum for Contemporary Art, PS1 MoMA among others. She was most recently a recipient of the Southern Constellations Fellowship in 2014, and was also been awarded with the Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant, Finishing Funds from the Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association, and Brooklyn Arts Council grants. Knight earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production at Howard University. Her works Make Safe, Make Space (2014) and X Speaks (2015) are currently on view in the gallery as part of Darkwater Revival: After Terry Adkins.