Nsenga A. Knight
Art and Change Grant
Neighborhood: West Philadelphia
Change Partner: Brandywine Workshop
Discipline: Visual Arts ,Performance
When Nsenga first found out that most of her African American high school students did not know who Malcolm X was, they turned to the work of Spike Lee to teach them about this important historical figure. Using this film as a teaching tool, she was reminded that history must be resurrected in the present for it to be relevant to people’s lives. In this vein, Nsenga is setting out to create a series of prints entitled “Last Rite”. Through the creation of these prints, she will respond to Malcolm X’s writings during the period after his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964 until his assassination in 1965 in order to develop a contemporary dialogue concerning the struggle against racism and oppression, and the realization of a more just world. She will also create a performance to take place alongside the exhibition of the prints connecting Malcolm X’s hajj to his funeral service through the recitation of eulogies that were given on his behalf. The community will be engaged as participants and witnesses in this funeral reenactment. Her goal is to build confidence and interest in African American history, especially among young people, so they can challenge and recognize current systems of oppression.
Photo credit: Nsenga Knight