Art with Rina Banerjee


“Authenticity does not exist for the diaspora, “ Rina Banarjee says as she sculpts her thoughts for the world to see

Rina Banerjee is an Indian artist, who lives in New York. She was born in Kolkata, educated in London worked as a scientist before taking up art as full time profession. Rina’s artwork among other themes also reflects her experiences as an immigrant. A study of her work would also make you see that she also draws extensively on her background as a scientist. The richly textured works complicate the role of objects as representations of cultures and invite viewers to share her fascination in materials. She juxtaposes organic and plastic objects. She weaves the world that is fantastic while being even slightly foreboding.

Rina believes that her art is essentially about the human desire to travel and be free. She believes is psychological, intellectual, and emotional. Her art is a depiction of a delicate world that is aggressive, tangled, manipulated, fragile, and very, very dense. In an interview with Rina, FWD tries to delve deep into the thought processes that take Rina into her art.

How would you describe the style of your work?

The work cannot be defined as an established way of making things. It’s sculptural work and the process is conceptual. It’s invested in handmade craftsmanship, but there’s an interest in the commercialized market too (like products manufactured in China). This is where the work is conceptual. I am interested in EBAY, Etsy, and other internet services that traffic culture and commodify culture in the ‘Great Bazar’.

How can one find meaning in the abstract?

The abstract gives an illusion that our emotions, cultural bias, gender and race can separate, escape and speak without a language. I think we speak a great deal, but we always struggle to communicate. The abstract is a place of monoliyhic worship and it’s distilled out of exclusion. I am interested in a more unsafe place. Inclusion. I ask one very clearly be engaged. It’s not always
about knowing or understanding, but entering with intension and risk into a conversation. A conversation that is outside, different, unknown and yet visible to your specificity and location. This makes me vulnerable and unsafe. In Western art, to explore something you cannot identify with is a kind of dishonesty, because authenticity is a compass. I am disinterested in authenticity. Authenticity does not xist for the diaspora. We are all the human diaspora. We left an origin …if there is one?

Who would you say is your inspiration?

I am inspired by Nature and what I am told I am not. I am not really a man, not really white, not really Indian, not really pretty, not really young. These truths entertain a place you occupy, the one you can call- what you really are. I am puzzled. For I imagine, these can be things if I can imagine. If I can feel a human emotion,sympathy, then it is the very core of what makes us civil, humane.

Which among your works are you most proud of?

I will be hard pressed to say that large sculptures always draws me. The size pushes the limits of the division between sculpturing and architecture. My work was displayed in 2013 at the 55th Venice Biennial. ‘Dark Blossom’ and ‘A World Lost’ was shown at the Smithsonian Museum. It explores a world/ Earth changing and becoming less. The world, as a living thing that we live on, will die. The idea is portrayed that mother earth brings home the problems of global warming, The loss of water, atmosphere. A desperate new homelessness is instantly felt. Both these works use the Taj Dome structure.

What medium do you enjoy the most?

Fabric -what we wear every day. What we are prohibited from going without as women. Children and babies can.

How has your work changed over time?

The work has revealed its meaning. At first when you begin it’s all instinct, then intellect. You realize intellect and instinct are emotions. Then you can say it’s a fearless ambition to make work that’s charged with what we all are feeling, but cannot always say because of cultural and language limitation. As I get older and my work grows, I allow myself to be a baby again.

Do you Have a dream project?

I want to design a Hospital in India and also an Art school.

Words by FWD Media and Photographs by Hosfelt Gallery

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