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Open Air: Artist Talk with Leonardo Benzant

Image credits: © Tyrus Ortega Gaines

All ages
  • About This Program

    Join our August Open Air virtual artist talk, which will feature renowned multidisciplinary artist Leonardo Benzant. Benzant is an artist who bridges the spiritual and the material realities of the African diaspora. In his multidisciplinary practice he is most known for his expressive painting and his elaborate beaded sculptures.

    Benzant's practice is driven by his connection to the trans African-Atlantic diaspora. Imagining himself as an Urban Shaman, Benzant explores both his familiar visible world as well as the hidden dimensions of other realms. His work, Untitled No.1 (series: Paraphernalia of the Urban Shaman M:5), 2015, is currently on view at the Gantt in FuturePresent: Acquisition Highlights from the Permanent Collection.

    About Open Air

    Open Air is a monthly series of virtual studio visits and intimate conversations with Black contemporary artists across the globe. Join us monthly as we celebrate a featured artist in one of our latest exhibitions.

  • How To View & Participate

    This free virtual program will be livestreamed on the Gantt's Facebook page and YouTube channel at 7 pm on August 16. Viewers may submit questions via comments/chat to the artist during the livestreamed program.

  • About The Artist

    Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Leonardo Benzant is Dominican-American with Haitian heritage. His practice is informed by his studies and initiations of Kongo and Yoruba origin. He deploys a wide variety of media and found objects to create work that connect African and Caribbean religion, art, history, culture, rituals, and modern and contemporary art.

    Benzant attended Pratt Institute in NY. He was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Painters and Sculptors and the Galveston Artist Residency in Texas. He was a finalist for The Burke Prize at the Museum of Arts and Design in NY. His work has been exhibited at the Taubman Museum (VA), Museum of the African Diaspora (SF), Philbrook Museum of Art (OK) and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

    Benzant's work is included in several private and public collections including the Weisman Museum (MN), Minneapolis Institute of Art (MN), The Bunker Artspace (FL), Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture (NC), The Wedge Collection (Canada), the Peggy Cooper Cafritz Collection (DC), and the US Embassy (Chad). He has participated in Untitled, Expo Chicago, Volta and Pulse Contemporary art fairs. He recently completed his first solo exhibition at the Claire Oliver Gallery (NYC) entitled Across Seven Ruins & Redemptions_Somo Kamarioka.

    Follow Benzant @leonardobenzant.

  • About The Host

    Dexter Wimberly is an American curator, based in Japan, who has organized exhibitions in galleries and institutions around the world. Wimberly's exhibitions have been featured in leading publications including The New York Times and Artforum, and have received support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Wimberly is the co-founder and CEO of Art World Learning, and a Senior Critic at New York Academy of Art.

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