Zakkiyyah Najeebah (b. 1991) is a Chicago based photographic artist , educator, and documentarian. She studied Art History and Black Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which heavily informs her multidisciplinary practice.  The aesthetic components and intersectional cultural advancements that are entirely unique to the black experience is a primary concern of hers.

Zakkiyyah uses photographic imagery to address the politics and aesthetic values of representation, inclusivity, black womanhood, family histories, and collective narratives. Often her work takes place in the realm of portraiture, documentation, image-making, and educating. Although working primarily in photography, she has recently expanded into video and mixed media to complicate her concerns. She is currently building a catalog that articulates current and past social concerns regarding black narratives and is exploring new methods of black visual presentation. 

Zakkiyyah is also a Co-founder of  EXPOSURE:  a collective of concerned Black photographers who wish to exchange ideas and photo methods, rooted in the Black experience. 



2010 -2015

University of Illinois at Chicago.

B.A. Program, Art History & Criticism, African American Studies.


Group Exhibitions

2017     WILD Family, Border Patrol Gallery

2017     Ritual, 2nd Floor Rear Exhibition Space.

2017     Old Black Magic, Chicago Art Department.  

2016     Yelling at the Sky, Chicago Artists Coalition x Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation.

2016     Our Duty to Fight, Gallery 400 (University of Illinois at Chicago).

2015     Aesthetics of Wellness, Woman Made Gallery.

2015     Independent Study, APLOMB Gallery.


Solo Exhibitions

2017       Five Works: Zakkiyyah Najeebah. Mana Contemporary Chicago. June - Aug.



2017        Oh, Mother Mother Me. Performative reading. Compound Yellow.


Awards + Residencies

2017-18     50x50: Neighborhood Arts Project - DCASE. City of Chicago

2017           SPACE Gallery - Artist in Residence. Portland ME. 

2016-17    Propeller Fund Grant Recipient - My Familiar . 



2017       Five Works - Artist Talk with Zakkiyyah Najeebah

2017       “Ritual”: The 2nd Floor Rear Festival, Part 2

2017       Compound Yellow - Mothering

2017        Transition to Power Ep. 13 - Zakkiyyah Najeebah

2016       Our Duty to Fight Exhibition - Gallery 400

2016       Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Curatorial Fellowship, Featured Artists


Collaborations + Partnerships + Commissions

2017       Chicago Reader

2016       Queer, Ill & Okay: Art AIDS America + Alphawood Foundation

2016       T.R.A.C.E (Teens Re-imagining Art, Community, and Environment).

2016       The Photographic Journal

2016        Afterschool Matters

2015-16   Open Tv


Talks + Panels

2018      In Progress: Black Photo Futures.  MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art). Moderator + Facilitator. Chicago

2017       Exposure: Concerned Black Photographers. AMFM Gallery. Facilitator. Chicago.

2017      Artist Talk + Screening with Zakkiyyah Najeebah: SPACE Gallery. Portland, ME.

2017      The Black Photographic Image: Future Perspectives. Moderator.AMC Detroit. 

2017       Five Works - Artist Talk with Zakkiyyah Najeebah

2017      Mindfulness in Critical Art Practices. Lake FX Summit Chicago. Moderator.

2016      Guest Teaching Artist: One Summer Chicago.  

2016      Radical Self Care + Creative Resistance Workshop. RiotCon Conference. Chicago

2016       Our Duty to Fight, Artists Talk. Gallery 400 (University of Illinois at Chicago).

2015      Visioning Community Workshop. Dorchester Art Projects, Rebuild Foundation. Chicago.

2015      SEEDS Project: Community Arts Engagement. Mana Contemporary  Chicago x Fultonia Now.

2014      Ferguson and Addressing Violence Against Black Bodies. University of Illinois at Chicago. Panelist.



Teaching Artist Guide - MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art)

Education Advisory Council Member - CAC (Chicago Artists Coalition)