Ben Pierce

Ota Benga

March 9

opening reception 6-10pm

Exhibit Pics HERE

show runs March 9 - 31


Ota Benga was a Congolese boy put on display in the Louisiana Purchase Exposition during the 1904 World’s Fair, as well as in a human zoo exhibit in 1906 at the Bronx Zoo. Benga’s story was the genesis of a series of new works exploring the effects of dehumanization experienced by immigrant, forcibly transplanted and indigenous communities. Once one is seen as less than human, how does one turn the burden of that perception into something powerful and beautiful? To illustrate the journey from this imposed weight of prejudice back into a reaffirmation of self, I’ve created characters which are amalgams of birds, endemic to the countries of origin of many of my friends. As pieces progress, the birds transcend into a redefined humanity, turning their burdens into magical cloaks and headdresses.