Artist Statement Submitted 2016Paul Stephen Benjamin is a multidisciplinary artist. His work brings the past, present and future together through use of the color black. The color black becomes an entry point into discussions of identity, race and masculinity. Benjamin creates multi-layered works, which incorporate history, text and popular culture. He employs painting, sculpture, installation and video in his work.
In Benjamin's current video work, he investigates the question "If the color black had a sound what would it sound like." "Black is the Color" a video work exemplifies this question. Benjamin has edited a 1959 performance of Nina Simone singing "Black is the Color of My True Loves Hair." In his reinterpretation, Nina Simon sings Black is the Color, the four words are repeated throughout the looping video installation. In the performance Nina Simone becomes, a symbol of blackness with her black afro, black skin, black dress, black boots as she sits on the black stool and plays a black piano.