Siona Benjamin (born December 11, 1960) is an Indian-American artist originally from Bombay, India and now residing in the New York City area. In 2016, Ms. Benjamin opened an online store, BlueLikeMe.com, featuring the vibrant imagery of her paintings transformed into wearable art and home decor items.
Siona Benjamin is an influential painter originally from Bombay, now living in the New York City area. Her signature work reflects her background of being brought up Jewish in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim India. In her paintings she combines the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today, making a mosaic of underlying meaning inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and Sephardic icons. She has her first MFA in painting and a second MFA in Theater set design. She has exhibited in the US, Canada, Europe India and Asia.
Siona has been awarded two Fulbright Fellowships: in fall 2016, Siona embarks on a new project to take place in Israel titled Motherland to Fatherland: Indian Transcultural Jews; in 2010-11, Siona was awarded an art project titled Faces: Weaving Indian Jewish Narratives. Research for this project was conducted in India, and the first exhibition took place in October 2013 at the Prince of Wales museum in Mumbai, India.
Her work has been featured in: The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Financial Times, The Jewish Week in NYC and NJ, The Boston Globe, The St. Louis Gazette, Art in America, Art New England, Art and Antiques, ArtNews, Moment magazine, and several news papers, magazines, journals, and books.
Siona's original paintings are available and represented by ACA Galleries in New York City.
Growing up in India, assimilation was expected in much of her daily life, and so “identity” and “mutual understanding” became major themes in Benjamin’s art. Her culturally diverse background informs her approach to art. Her work is influenced by biblical subject matter, reflections on gender and an interest in Midrashic process. Much of her imagery reflects Indian mythology in an effort to reveal what shapes both physical and spiritual identity. Also at the core of her work is an ecumenical and empathetic spirit that comes from the very core of Jewish experience. Stylistically amalgamating Indian/Persian miniatures with pop culture, Christian and Jewish illuminated manuscripts, and Jewish and Hindu mythology, Siona also brings her canvas characters to life through animation and performance dance artists.
Few things are more cherished in Jewish tradition than tikkun olam, which translates to “mending the world”. Observant Jews practice tikkun olam every day in their thoughts and actions. As Abraham Joshua Herschel has posed when asked, “Who is a Jew?” he replied: “A Jew is a person whose integrity decays when unmoved by the knowledge of wrong done to other people”. Through study and reflection, Benjamin has made tikkun olam central to her art. She lives just outside of New York City.