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As we all continue to collectively experience dramatic shifts during this period of pandemic, the Jewish Art Salon invites you to “OPEN STUDIOS, Creativity in an Uncertain Time: Outliers in the Picture II”.

In this session, curated by Judith Joseph and Dorit Jordan Dotan, we are joined by artists Siona Benjamin and Julian Voloj as they offer insight into their creative processes and share the impact of the current social order on the psychological and spiritual content of their work. Creativity in an Uncertain Time, aired live on Zoom on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.  

Thanks to JAS Open Studios Program volunteers Chana Elias and Cheselyn Amato and Program Advisor Yona Verwer.

About the artists:

Siona Benjamin is a painter from Mumbai, India now living in the US. Her work reflects her background of being brought up Jewish in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim culture. Siona earned an MFA in painting and a second MFA in Theater Set Design. She has exhibited her work in the US, Europe, and Asia. Siona does private and public art commissions, while also selling and exhibiting in galleries and museums. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2011 to India and a second Fulbright in 2017 to Israel. Siona’s work has been featured in: The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Financial Times, The Jewish Week, The Boston Globe, Art New England, Art and Antiques, ArtNews, The Times of India, The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel and several other publications. A documentary on her work entitled, ‘Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin’ is now available on

Born in Germany to Colombian parents, Julian Voloj has documented, in both photography and writing, the diversity of his adopted hometown of New York; in doing so, Julian has helped others to find their voice and tell their stories. His work has been published in The New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, The Washington Post and many other national and international publications. Julian’s fascination for forgotten heroes and hidden cultural figures has been a leitmotif in his non-fiction graphic novels. “Ghetto Brother” was named by Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz, in The New York Times, one of the best books of 2016. “Joe Shuster” won several international awards and was translated into seven languages. “Basquiat” was listed by the influential Comics Beat as one of the most important 100 graphic novels of the last decade. His latest book “Clayton”, an anthology in the tradition of Harvey Pekar’s “American Splendor,” is an intimate portrait of artist Clayton Patterson, who has, as his friend Ai WeiWei puts it, “relentlessly devoted himself to a kind of culture that examines authority” and who Anthony Bourdain described as “archivist of all things Lower East Side.”

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