Pittsburgh-based photographer and filmmaker Njaimeh Njie has been named Pittsburgh Center for the Arts' 2018 Emerging Artist of the Year. Njie’s experience has spanned genres and borders, from documenting black Muslim life in Paris to earning degrees in film studies and secondary education.
As a multimedia artist, she considers herself a storyteller -- inspired by photographers like Gordon Parks, and Pittsburgh’s own Teenie Harris.
“I primarily work in visual-based media, so photo and video work, but I really like to supplement that with like text, and also, I’m getting more into audio, so like doing interviews and oral history to pair that with the photos to provide a little more context,” said Njie.
The Emerging Artist of the Year award recognizes an artist whose work is projected to make an impact in the arts as their career progresses. As part of the award, Nije curated a multimedia exhibition titled “On the Daily, blackness in a changing city.”
“I think it’s important to preserve our daily lives, not in a way that’s like solely about struggle, not in a way that’s solely about excellence and the crème de la crème because most of us are, most of the time, living somewhere in the middle,” explained Njie.
The exhibition uses documentary photographs with audio, text, and video.
“I hope that people see the beauty and the range of black life here in Pittsburgh," Njie said. "I hope people come away understanding a little bit of the history of black Pittsburgh and also, I hope people are challenged to you know thing about what does the future of black Pittsburgh look like."
Emmai Alaquiva, President and CEO of Ya Momz House, a recording studio and production house in East Liberty, has worked with Njie on a number of film and photography projects. Alaquiva said Njie’s Emerging Artist award is well deserved.
“What she brings to the element of a project is unmatched. She couples passion with determination to make sure things are executed to the fullest,” said Alaquiva.
“On the Daily” is on exhibit at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts until Nov. 4.