Ben's Biography

Ben Bela Abounassif is a Lebanese-Venezuelan emergent artist living and working in Caracas since 2010.

From 1997 to 2010 this self-taught artist established his place of residence in Miami, Florida where he co-owned several businesses: two restaurants, an art gallery and a studio-shop.

 In 1997, Abounassif partnered with Jesus Manuel Rojas Torres, a Venezuelan-born Internationalist who shared the same passion about the food business industry.

They had both invested time and effort expanding their first business, Sorrento’s Pizza & Restaurant located on 57 Avenue at the Miami Lakes Commerce Center. Within 3 years, they had inaugurated a second location in Hialeah and started a catering business.

After the events of September 11, 2001, a mild economic recession ensued driving these two young entrepreneurs to sell their restaurants and reinvent their lives.

Rojas Torres went for his Master of Science in Mass Communication at Florida International University and Abounassif ventured into the Real Estate business.

In 2005, the former business partners decided to integrate their efforts again. They were looking for a gallery space to conduct their newfound pursuit: the arts.

They partnered with Miami-based artist and restaurateur Sinuhe Vega Leiter to inaugurate “Leiter Gallery,” a two-story gallery space located at the UVA building in Belle Meade in the Upper East side of Miami.

“At the time, I knew that something within me was about to be ignited. I was representing artists and producing successful exhibitions at the gallery but I knew deep inside of me that I felt the urge to paint something, even though I had no artistic training whatsoever,” said Abounassif.

In less than two years producing events for Leiter Gallery, Abounassif quickly learned the craft and decided to start his own creations.He started with a series of mixed media art cube portraits, wood cubes stamped with photography and finished with resin. 

The art cubes were first exhibited at Hardcore Art Gallery, Wynwood in December 2007.

In 2008, Rojas Torres established Eclectic Network Inc., to represent and produce art exhibitions in alternative spaces throughout Miami. 

His inaugural debut “Art After Dark & Experimental Innovators,” during April’s 2008 Wynwood Second Saturday Art Walk at Circa 28, exhibited Abounassif’s “Annunciation” series, two large mixed media paintings of Italian Renaissance master pieces which were purchased by TV producer Leticia del Monte before the exhibition opened to the public.

Abounassif, who was less than emergent back then, produced a great amount of work and started to exhibit in several places throughout South Florida.

In May 2008, he was invited to participate in a “Collective CCA3” with an almost sold-out show at the Bakehouse Art Complex with 20 mixed media paintings titled “Liberty for All” based on Richard Kaplan’s Statue of Liberty photo collection.

He was then invited to participate in a “Collective” exhibition at Casa Del Arte, Fort Myers, Florida in June 2008.

At the Miami Art Space, Abounassif exhibited his series “Repetition,” repetitional images of Italian Renaissance worked with acrylic and resin during a collective in August 2008.

In December 2008, Abounassif was represented by Oxemberg Fine Art during Art Basel Miami Beach at “Bridge Art Fair” with his latest creation “Peace of Love” series.

In 2009, Abounassif had a solo exhibition at "Icon South Beach" during Art Basel week. He exhibited his transparent acrylic pieces. He was the first artist to be featured in the now popular art & culture blog, What’s Up Miami? a creation of Jesus Rojas Torres to keep on promoting the arts and artists throughout the world.

In September 2011, Abounassif’s latest acrylic on acrylic pieces will be exhibited at What’s Up Miami? booth at the American Pavilion-Shanghai Art Fair 2011.