14 2024

Blue Like Me: Growing Up Jewish in India

7:00AM - 8:00PM  

VIRTUAL Program Jewish Federation of the Berkshires 196 South St
Pittsfield, MA 01201

Contact Rabbi Daveen Litwin

Via Zoom. Please register HERE.

Siona Benjamin is a painter originally from Bombay, now living in the US.  Her works reflect 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 multicultural America today, making a mosaic inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and Sephardic icons.

Siona has always been driven to reflect upon the cultural boundary zones in which she has lived. She is compelled to create art that speaks of shared similarities with her audience. Siona’s intent for her viewers is to re-evaluate their notions and concepts about identity and race, hoping to peel back layers of misconceptions that may result in racism, hate and war.

Over the years, she developed varied blue-skinned characters as self-portraits in assuming multiple roles and forms. She employs them as social and cultural agents in raising provocative issues about identity in a trans-cultural world.

The presentation will include a section on the artist’s childhood growing up Jewish in a multicultural India. Photos and information about the 2000-year-old Indian Jewish community will be embellished with personal Jewish photos from the artists family album. Most of Siona’s family now lives in three different continents.  Through her art, learn Siona's story and the journey of this diasporic Bene Israel Indian Jewish family.

Siona has an MFA in painting from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Ill., and an MFA in theater set design from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign. She has exhibited in the United States, Europe and Asia.