Lilith in the New World (detail), 2007, Mixed media, 144 x 120 x 48 in.,
Courtesy of Flomenhaft Gallery, New York
Artist lecture is to take place Thursday November 15th, 4:00 p.m. reception to follow at The Stedman Gallery.
The painter Siona Benjamin, who resides in New Jersey, will discuss the ideas animating her work as well as how her cultural heritage has influenced her practice. “I am an artist originally from Bombay, India, of Bene Israel Jewish descent. My work reflects my background and the transition between my old and new worlds.” Her work in Ornament and Narrative features the installation Lilith and paintings from her recent series Improvisation that draw on traditional images, cultural references and styles from her Indian-Jewish heritage, transformed through her own unique, contemporary pop cultural sensibility. The work synthesizes seemingly disparate elements from her rich multi-cultural background, and elements of both her old and new worlds.
Ornament and Narrative: Women Artists of Eastern Diasporas features the work of Roya Akhavan, Najla Arafa, Siona Benjamin, Lalla Essaydi, Sissi Farassat, Naomi Safran-Hon, Soody Sharifi, Mitra Tabrizian and Shahar Yahalom, artists originally from countries stretching from Morocco to India. Within this vast region, indigenous and local cultures have developed that distinguish these societies from their neighbors. None of them is immune or impervious to the pressures of modern transformations—the Arab Spring being the most recent modernizing wave engulfing parts of this world. The Stedman Gallery at The Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts is presenting this exhibition until December 15, 2012.
RCCA works in partnership with Camden schools on multiple professional development workshops each year. One of these workshops was designed to prepare teachers to introduce the book, Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya to their 11th grade students in Spring 2013.
The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Camden is one of 78 communities nationwide participating in The Big Read in 2012-13. From March- April 2013 Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts and the Camden community will celebrate Bless Me Ultima with a full calendar of events including a kick-off event to launch the program; events devoted specifically to the book, such as lectures, book discussions in diverse locations, performances, and more. For more information on The Big Read or to have your own Bless Me Ultima book discussion, call Noreen Scott Garrity at 856-225-6306.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.