// Born in 1971 in Brooklyn, NC
// Lives and works in Queens, NY
Leonardo Benzant’s art draws upon his Afro-Dominican/Haitian-American heritage. His practice includes painting, performance, sculpture, sound and installation as he investigates deeply personal experiences of identity, ancestry, family, community and spirituality.
Benzant, at times, metaphorically refers to his practice as a form of Urban Shamanism that enfolds information from the uniquely shared histories of code switching, double-consciousness and multiple narratives that people of African descent inherited or adopted as survival strategies for daily life. As a result, his work straddles two worlds— bridging the visible and invisible—while embodying the dynamics of being both sacred and secular.
Benzant was recently an artist in residence at Galveston Artist Residency in Texas. His work was featured in the solo exhibition, Afrosupernatural (Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ). He has participated in group exhibitions, including notable shows at Jenkins Johnson Gallery (New York, NY), The Third Line (Dubai, UAE) and 101/EXHIBIT (Los Angeles, CA). His art is featured in numerous private collections as well as the permanent collection of The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture (Charlotte, NC).
Benzant is a recipient of the 2017 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painter’s and Sculptor’s Grant. He attended Pratt Institute.
Piece in the Exhibit
Leonardo Benzant // The Tongue on the Blade: Serenade for Aponte and all Those Who Have Vision, 2017, from the series K7: Kalunga Gives Birth to New Worlds, mixed media, dimensions variable. (courtesy of the artist; photograph by Yolanda Navas)
Asked what flag is in the hand of the Queen he has referred to as Candace, he said: that it is the flag of Abyssinia [with] a Field of Yellow, Lion, Scarlet Cross, and Sword.