Self / Referential


Three immigrant artists probe the channels between cultures and continents.

Curator: Janet Heit.


Art by Siona Benjamin, Katarzyna Kozera and Yona Verwer

(India, Poland and The Netherlands)

Siona’s recent “Exodus” series is about Syrian refugees; some of her other work is about the Indian community.

Yona and Katarzyna’s work is about finding new identities in their new home country, blending their lives with that of Yona’s namesake, the biblical prophet Jonah. Some of the works have embedded videos, viewable on an i=pad..

We may possibly add a 4th artist, Julian Voloj, whose graphic novel art deals with a Porto-rican immigrant, who started out as a gang leader in the Bronx and organized a gang peace treaty.

About the artists:

Siona Benjamin is a painter originally from Bombay, now living in the US. Her work reflects her background of being brought up Jewish in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim India. In her paintings she combines the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today, making a mosaic inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and Sephardic icons.

She has her a MFAs in painting and in Theater set design. She has exhibited in the US, Europe and Asia. She has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2010-11 for the art project titled: Faces: Weaving Indian Jewish Narratives.

Her work has been featured in: The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, Art in America, Art New England, Art and Antiques, ArtNews, Moment magazine.


Polish-born, New York based Katarzyna Kozera is a multi-media artist, art director and photographer. She received a Fulbright Scholarship from the Maryland Institute College of Arts, and the 2013 Erasmus Scholarship of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium.

Kozera designed the multimedia part of the core exhibition at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Poland, one of the biggest projects of its kind. She designed multimedia aspects of exhibitions for major museums, such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston SC, San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site, and the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem, Israel.


Dutch-born Yona Verwer creates works that explore identity, immigration, heritage, tikkun olam, and kabbalah.

Verwer holds a master’s degree in fine art from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

Her work has been exhibited at the Andy Warhol Factory, Jerusalem Biennale, the Bronx Museum, Yeshiva University Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, Center for Jewish History, Mizel Museum, Reginald Lewis Museum of African-American Art, Stanback Museum, Canton Museum of Art, and the Holocaust Memorial Center.

She has been featured in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Ars Judaica, the Huffington Post, the Daily News, the Forward, the Jewish Week, Sh’ma Journal.


About the curator:

Janet Heit is a New York-based writer and curator with a keen interest in artists working outside the commercial mainstream.

She will be curating the 2019 Jewish Art Salon exhibition Spinoza: Marrano of Reason at the Amstelkerk, Amsterdam, and Plein van Siena, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

She is a former curator for the Bronx Museum, AIR Gallery, the Whitney ISP, Cityarts Workshop, Southern Arts Federation, and elsewhere.

She has also been producer or speaker for Artists Talk on Art, Art Initiatives, Cooper Union, the College Art Association, and other venues.

Janet is the author of numerous reviews, monographs and catalogues, and a recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Helena Rubinstein Foundation.