by Chester Higgins and Betsy Kissam
Sacred Nile is the story of our collective spiritual imagination and practice. Chester Higgins celebrates the agency of people of African descent and their influence on the foundation of Western religion. His images illustrate how faith migrated up and down the River Nile from Ethiopia to Egypt leaving vestiges of ancient practice in today’s worship. This visual portrayal of faith reexamines our spiritual beginnings.
“An epic personal and spiritual journey expressed through images of unearthly and majestic beauty. Higgins’s iconic photography, supported by revelatory text, discovers in Africa a common ancestor for many of today’s major religions.” — David Henry Hwang, playwright
“This visually stunning book also drops some serious knowledge about the cultural and religious connections between the lands that border the Nile; Ethiopia, Nubia, and Egypt from the dawn of history down to the present time. This knowledge is still rejected by many mainstream Egyptologists, but as they become more familiar with other African cultures, religious traditions, and languages, the connections described in this book will be confirmed in academia.” — Solange Ashby, Egyptologist, Barnard College
“In this collection of breathtaking photographs, Chester Higgins takes us to the African source of the West’s spiritual heritage. These images transport us to a different time and place. There are the stories of our religious roots.” — Ari Goldman, director, Scripps-Howard Program in Religion, Journalism and the Spiritual Life, Columbia University
“What makes Sacred Nile so spectacular, and singular is what emerges from every image: reflecting an artist’s compassionate and intelligent gaze, held up by an abiding faith in the sacredness of each human being.” — Maaza Mengiste, author, The Shadow King
Chester Higgin's photographs have been exhibited by museums around the world and published widely in The New York Times, where he was a staff photographer for 38 years. He first visited Egypt and Ethiopia in 1973 and has been documenting antiquity sites in Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia and contemporary religious ceremonies in Ethiopia ever since.
Betsy Kissam is a freelance writer and is editor at Chester Higgins Projects. She has been accompanying Higgins for the past several decades on his many field trips to the Blue Nile countries. "Sacred Nile" is their fourth and most recent book together.
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