“I begin with a formal sketch, I deconstruct it until it is destroyed….and then it appears…within the light.”

Mario Benjamin was born in Port au Prince, Haiti in 1964 and is a self-taught artist. Recognized as an excellent draftsman, he became a well-known photo-realist portrait painter early in his career. Benjamin then broke away from realism and turned toward the abstract. He added found objects, such as pieces of wood and cloth, to his pictures; cut up his canvases; and adopted dark colors and spare lines that contrast sharply with traditional Haitian painting.

The black tones and darkness of Benjamin’s recent productions reflect the artist’s fear of becoming stifled by a society and a reality that limits his reflections, his expressive needs and his individuality.

The works show a will to convey the idea that things that appear to conform, or that assume the guise of acceptability, might in reality be very different. At the same time, Mario Benjamin’s life and works show that the untraditional and controversial can also be a source of beautiful and many-dimensional expression.

He has had one-person exhibitions in Haiti; Mexico City; and Miami, Florida, U.S.A.; and has participated in group exhibitions at venues including the Museum of Haitian Art and the lnstitut Français d’Haiti in Port au Prince; the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, D.C.; and the Caixa Foundation in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Mario Benjamin works and lives in Port-au-Prince, and is one of the few Haitian artists to have contributed widely to major biennales and events in recent years; his work also has been presented at the 1996 Havana Biennial and the 1997 Johannesburg Biennial and the Venice Biennial.

He is currently having a show in South Africa @ the Afronova gallery in Johannesburg.

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