Painters & Sculptors Program 2017 Leonardo Benzant

Painters & Sculptors Program

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Leonardo Benzant

Richmond Hill, NY

Leonardo Benzant is a Dominican-American artist, with Haitian heritage, born and raised in Brooklyn, who at times, metaphorically, refers to his practice as Urban Shamanism inspired by a character he created called Kamarioka, The Chameleon. His practice is informed by his studies of the Kongo and his spiritual beliefs shaped by research into Western, Eastern, African and Caribbean religion, art, history, culture and rituals. Benzant’s work was featured in a solo exhibition, Afrosupernatural, at Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, in Newark, NJ in 2016. He has also exhibited in group shows at The Third Line, Dubai, UAE; Rush Art Gallery, NY; 101 Exhibit Gallery, Los Angeles; G.R. N’namdi Center for Contemporary Art, Detroit; African American Museum, Philadelphia; among other venues. His work is held in numerous public and private collections in the U.S. and the Dominican Republic. In 2016-2017, he was a resident at the Galveston Artist Residency in Galveston, TX.

“My artworks draw from the uniquely shared history of code switching, double-consciousness, and multiple narratives that people of African descent have inherited and are compelled to adopt as a survival strategy for daily life. Like this common experience, my work straddles two worlds.”

  • Black Magik 13, 2012-2014, clothes/fabric, leather, caucasian baby doll, chic, dimensions variable

  • Our Children Whispering Between Deep Space and The Deep Sea, (from the ongoing series: Signatures A.K.A. AfroSpanglish), 2017, acrylic, oilstick, and oil on paper, 122 x 102 1/2 inches

  • Radiations Of The Midnight Walker, Victorious In Round Number 8, He Who Moves Inside Of The Womb Of Magik And Timelessness, He Who Moves Here, There, And Everywhere Chanting: I AM THE GREATEST! And Chanting: WITCHCRAFT WILL NEVER TOUCH ME! (detail), 2016, mannequin, fabric, clothes, mpolos (kikongo word for dust or powders), string, coffee- grinds, vija (ashiote), powdered charcoal, efun (eggshell-powder), cigar-ash, glitter, acrylic, acrylic-inks, gel-medium, rope, leather, monofilament, glass beads and miscellaneous, dimensions variable

  • left to right: Simbi Kia Masa: One and Simbi Kia Masa: Two, 2017, mixed-media and cut-glued-paper, dimensions variable

Artworks shown are selected from works submitted by the artist in their grant application. All works are copyright of the artist or artist’s estate.