Size: 48” wide x 43” tall (open view); 24” wide x 43” tall (closed box view)

Medium: Acrylic, mixed media and 22K gold leaf on wood panel.

Siona Benjamin 2021

Amistad Lilith - inside

Based on the research on the concept of Eugenics, I was inspired to make a boat like triptych, inspired by the Medieval and Renaissance European retable like structures found in many churches which open up to display beautiful Judeo-Christian themes. I combined that shape with the idea of a boat……the slave ship, and the boats carrying numerous refugees hopefully into safety and asylum from their countries and dictators of persecution.

Many blue seated men sit packed in the golden boat, huddled, motionless, scared yet hopeful. Hopeful but for what? Hopeful not to be thrown back into the ocean? hopeful not to be sent back to their destruction and dissolution.

Lilith who is Kali, who is also Medusa, who is also that pestering angry woman. Always blamed for her cries of mercy and justice. “Go back and find out whom they lost first? Themselves or us…..” she asks.  Is this the moral and human condition of our era? Is thinking but never acting out our good intentions the curse of our times? She surfaces again, and yet again. Glassy eyed and golden mouth, hands cutting the cord and balancing justice at the same time. Angels touch with hope, with tenderness. Futile yet caring. The Ying Yang of life, tireless, persistent.

The letter Shin which is Shaddai, one of the names of God and equivalent to the number three hundred in the Hebrew alphabet, represents Divine power and peace. Shin crowns Lilith’s glory but to what avail? Will it protect in the end?

Who holds the blame? Who carries the burden? Who shares the blame? Who will help? Who will abandon? Who will hope with them? Who will betray? Who will sacrifice?

Siona Benjamin 2021