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Siona Benjamin

Montclair, NJ

"Blue Like Me"
As a Bene Israel Jew from India now living in the United States, I am a Jewish artist creating cross-cultural and transcultural art. My perspective bridges the traditional and the modern, and sparks discourse across cultures.
My family gradually dispersed, mostly to Israel and America, but my parents remained in India. I still recall the ornate synagogues of my Bombay childhood: the oil lamps, the velvet-and-silver-covered Torahs, a chair left vacant for the prophet Elijah. Having grown up in a Hindu and Muslim society, educated in Catholic and Zoroastrian schools, raised Jewish in India, and now calling America home, I have always had to reflect on cultural boundary zones.
So while I am a Jewish artist, my perspective remains transcultural and multicultural at heart. I combine the imagery of my past with the role I play in America today, making a mosaic inspired by illuminated manuscripts and multicultural mythology.
Many blue-skinned characters populate my paintings. This self-portrait of sorts takes on many roles through which I explore ancient and contemporary dilemmas. These characters enact their stories – often recycling myths from various cultures and religions — becoming symbols of a timeless global identity free of prejudices and boundaries.
Wescover creator since 2019

More About This Creator

Q&A

How do your pieces come to life? Tell us one interesting thing about your creative process?

"My work is informed by Indian miniature paintings, Byzantine icons and illuminated manuscripts. My work emphasizes women's issues and raises questions about identity. In this multicultural society, I would like viewers to absorb the core message — tolerance of diversity."
Siona BenjaminSiona Benjamin
Q&A

What do you want people to do or feel when they encounter your creations?

"I am interested in art that affects and changes the daily life of people as they live and work in their city or town. I would like to see the integration of art and culture in urban and rural environments. Especially in rural settings where the public and school children have less opportunity to visit large museums, I believe art should be placed within their downtown, city centers, and parks."
Siona BenjaminSiona Benjamin
Q&A

What funny moments, unexpected surprises, or obstacles have you encountered?

"I think more emphasis should be given in educating our children about the importance of art in this world...food for the body is needed but also important is art, which is nourishment for the soul!"
Siona BenjaminSiona Benjamin

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