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Ben Chatag ’15

Graduation Year


Major at MMC

International Studies and Studio Art

Current Title


Spotlight Story

Brooklyn-based Ben Chatag ’15 draws upon deeply personal life experiences to create his colorful and complex contemporary paintings. He says, “I want to visually convey Tibetan philosophical ideas in works that focus on current social, political, and cultural issues. The notions of freedom, interdependence, and compassion are important in a time when many are rejecting our connectedness and focusing on differences.”

With his first solo show, “Suffering and Cessation,” at the Yasher Gallery, in Brooklyn, Chatag aimed to raise awareness of the struggle of refugees and migrants around the world.” As a Tibetan who had left my country and family, this was and remains important to me,” he says.

Chatag is quick to credit Hallie Cohen, MFA, Professor of Art and Director of the Hewitt Gallery of Art, for giving him the courage to follow his passion. He says Cohen provided him guidance for pursuing a double major—in International Studies and Studio Art—and traveling to India to study Tibetan thangka painting. 

He says, “I have learned that being an artist is really hard work, like anything else. You have to stick to it every day and not worry so much about what people say. It is a long process. I just feel lucky to have this passion in me, and the opportunity to follow it.”

This spotlight originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of MMC Magazine.