“QUEENS IN ESSENCE, 2015-2020” Portraits of Nubian women from Kibera- Nairobi. A work of research and photography in progress.
Nub noun (a biblical term to mean Gold) / Nubian noun (plural Nubians) -An inhabitant of the ancient
Nubia or a person of Nubian descent.
Essence noun (plural essences)
- The inherent nature of a thing or idea
- A being; especially, a purely spiritual being.
“Queens in Essence” is a photography work my latest work, a project in progress that depicts Nubian women of East Africa as the “Queens that they really are” in relation to the present and their royal, rich ancient history (that only a few of them are informed about). The first series (Nairobi/April/2015) show portraits of Nubian female elders and young ladies from Kibra (Kibera) staged in a modern photo studio as they strictly dressed in Nubian wear.
After 12 BC, a series of Nubian Queens ruled Egypt. Queen Tiye (1415-1340 BC) was an intelligent and beautiful full black African married to King Amen Hotep III, one of world’s mightiest Pharaohs and conquerors of the time. Her son Akhenaton and his wife Queen Nefertiti are the parents of the young famous King “Tut” Tutankhamen.
Amen Hotep III dedicated several shrines to Queen Tiye and addressed her as (The most praised lady of Grace, the lady who fills the palace with beauty, Sweet in her Love, the Regent of North and south, the Great wife of King, the Lady of both Lands).
Queen Tiye wasn’t the only prominent Nubian queen. In 23 BC Roman soldiers attacked Nubia, the Nubian resistance was led by a Queen who scholars believe is Amenshekato who even negotiated a peace treaty. Matter of fact, “KUSH” (present areas of Ethiopia, Sudan) invaded Egypt and took over power for the 150 years. But why is the 25th Dynasty never talked about, in fact the Egyptian National museum has artifacts from all dynasties but they intentionally skipped the 25th simply because it was a period of black African rule.
Sudanese soldiers were incorporated into the British Army in the 1880s and brought to Kenya in the early 1900s. They served for the British army in the kings African rifles during World War I against the Germans, and in World War II in places like Somalia, Abyssinia, Madagascar and Burma. Nubians played a vital role in the defense of Kenya and the development of east Africa, unable to return to Sudan, the Nubians and their families remained in Kenya and in 1912, the British government designated some 4197 acres of land for the Nubians to settle on. In 1917, the British gazetted it as land for the Sudanese askaris and their dependents. The land was located outside of what would become the city of Nairobi. The Nubians named the land, Kibra, or ‘land of forest”
On 3rd.5.2015 I completed my stay as Artist-In-Residence at Kuona Trust Art Centre in Nairobi-Kenya with a 1 day exhibition, on 15th.5.15 I also did a short presentation and exhibition of this project at 32° East in Kampala. At the end of 2015 I hope to officially release the complete Nairobi album of 25 portraits, audio podcasts and videos of Kibera/Kibra Nubian elders airing out wisdom. Im also working on exhibiting 10 selected photos from the project in some selected galleries around the world including 2 confirmed exhibitions in Germany. These portraits were produced during my 1month stay at Kuona Trust Art Centre in Nairobi as a prize after my project (Le Studio Boda-Boda) was chosen by the international jury as the winner of “New Talent Award” at the “Kampala Contemporary Art Festival / KLA ART 014” organized by http://ugandanartstrust.org.
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