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Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation

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Beyond Bowties & Bean Pies


"Dad's Pie." Homemade pie from my dad Rafik's recipe. Courtesy of artist. 2021

The bean pie is made of just a few essential ingredients: white beans, sugar, butter, cinnamon, pie crust, and—most importantly—grit, that jagged grain of blues, tragedy, and generational pain that colors the origin story of Black American history.


Manifesting as exhibition, publishing, happenings, and performance, my investigation of the bean pie explores Black radicality and foodways in Nation of Islam.The project has been shared as a series of dinner parties and cooking tutorials hosted at institutions across the Middle East.


The research has also been peer-reviewed and featured in the academic journal MIT Thresholds, an architectural review published by MIT Press. The result of 2 years of academic and ethnographic research, the essay “Beyond Bowties & Bean Pies: A Material Analytic Approach to Eating & Meaning-making in the Nation of Islam” expands on my artistic exploration on the food of Black American Muslims, inspired by my father, who was part of the Five Percent Nation.

Find a PDF of the essay here.

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"Beyond Bowties & Bean Pies."  In Thresholds, published and peer-reviewed by MIT Press. 2023


"Untitled." Serving bean pies to friends. 2021. Courtesy of artist.

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"Untitled." 2021. From artist's camera roll. 2021


"Untitled." Research image. Courtesy of Gordon Parks Foundation. 1971

"Untitled." Research image. Courtesy of artist. 2020

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