Ben Cleeton
Carla & Che Che, 2018

20" H x 24" W
Image Notes
Exhibition Print
Catalogue Number
Current Location
NA 11

About the Artist

Ben Cleeton

BirthplaceSyracuse, New York
CitizenshipUnited States
Cultural HeritageEuropean-American
Light Work RelationshipLight Work Grant, 2020 (2020 Grant recipient )
Light Work Hallway Gallery, 2020 (Light Work Grant Exhibition)


I was born in Syracuse and lived in Geneseo, NY, where my mother, a professor of Sociology, brought public intellectuals to campus. One event stuck—joining Carrie Mae Weems and bell hooks for pizza in their B&B for a late-night snack. Growing up, I witnessed social and racial inequalities, inspiring the creation of my art as a weapon to dismantle white supremacy and class supremacy. As my father documented Syracuse’s Armory Square art and club scene, he made sure I grew up with a camera in hand, landing me at the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University, the Eddie Adams Workshop, and most recently the New York Times Portfolio Review. With my mother’s activism and the inspiration of my father’s eye, I developed into the person who I am today, an ally listening and watching for compelling narratives.