Us and Our Daughters, Charcoal/Acid-free Paper 20” x 16”, 2001

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Portfolio: Works on Paper

I have strongly realized that my creative research in identity and process has been both rewarding and challenging. Dr. W. E. B. DuBois wrote a book titled The Souls of Black Folks in 1903. In his writings, he discusses the psychological phenomenon of “Double-Consciousness.” Am I American or African? Am I White or Black? As an African-American Muslim artist working in higher education, I have come to accept the unquestionable actuality of my existence in the twenty-first century, and that is that I am confronted with a Triple-Consciousness. Here lies my contribution to the field of my creative endeavor.

The understanding of otherness (African, American, and Muslim) is upon the world stage today. This was evident in the invitational lecture and exhibition I received in 2008 at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. I was invited to give a lecture titled “Islamic Art and African-American Experience” during the African-American/Africana Studies Symposium hosted by Bilkent Department of History, American Studies Association of Turkey, and Western Kentucky University. In addition, Dr. Bulent Ozguc, Dean and Acting Chair of Fine Arts extended to me an invitation to have a major solo exhibition at Bilkent University Fine Art Gallery.

In 2013, Dr. George N’Namdi introduced my creative works to Diego Cortez, the world-renowned art advisor and curator, and Luciano Benetton, international collector and founder of the Benetton Group. This led to one of my works, Abstract Sankofa, being exhibited in the Imago Mundi at Biennale 2013, Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice, Italy. The online/hard copy exhibition catalog titled, ORGANIX: Contemporary Artists from the U.S. A. was published by FABRICA (a global communication research center, studio, and school, and an integral part of the Benetton Group). Imago Mundi is a “cultural, democratic, and global project that looks at the new frontier of art in the name of coexistence of expressive diversity.”

My creative works in the context of Triple Consciousness were best noted in my 2011 international solo exhibitions and lecture during my invitational Artist-in-Residency at Tuanku Fauziah Museum and Gallery University Science Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia. The title of the exhibition was Muhammad Speaks: Preserving an American Voice, hosted by Associate Professor and Director Hasnul Jamal Saidon.