Seven Sisters

Ambika Rajgopal of Saffronart posts about Rina Banerjee’s work at the Seven Sisters exhibition in Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco.

London: Rina Banerjee is one of the eight artists on view at the Seven Sisters exhibition at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery, in San Francisco. The other artists displaying their works are Carrie Mae Weems, Mickalene Thomas, Patricia Piccinini, Camille Rose Garcia, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Toyin Odutola, and Vanessa Prager.

Left: The Edge of Time - Ancient Rome from Roaming, 2006, Carrie Mae Weems; Right:  Din Facing Forward, 2012, Mickalene Thomas. Image Credit: http://www.jenkinsjohnsongallery.com/exhibitions/13seven.sisters/13seven_PR.html

Left: The Edge of Time – Ancient Rome from Roaming, 2006, Carrie Mae Weems; Right: Din Facing Forward, 2012, Mickalene Thomas. Image Credit: http://www.jenkinsjohnsongallery.com/exhibitions/13seven.sisters/13seven_PR.html

At the heart of this exhibition is the sororal significance of the constellation Pleiades, where each of the seven stars represents the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Each of the seven sisters have a mythological significance in Greek lore. These artists represent the sisterhood of femininity, which binds together the social fabric of our culturally heterogeneous society. Through works in diverse media like painting, drawing, sculpture and video, these artists represent the penetrative influence of the female identity. The works also interrogate personal identity and its correlation with themes like migration, race, gender, politics and heritage.

Upon first myth and empirical observation the hero her angel leaps in cry opens the moon to urge on a rain that may cleanse all from the sweat of her jealous man, 2013, Rina Banerjee. Image Credit: http://www.jenkinsjohnsongallery.com/exhibitions/13seven.sisters/13seven_PR.html

Upon first myth and empirical observation the hero her angel leaps in cry opens the moon to urge on a rain that may cleanse all from the sweat of her jealous man, 2013, Rina Banerjee. Image Credit: http://www.jenkinsjohnsongallery.com/exhibitions/13seven.sisters/13seven_PR.html

Indian born, New York-based artist, Rina Banerjee has had a long drawn history with investigating mythology, role of culture, fairy tales, anthropology and ethnography. On display in the exhibition are Banerjee’s works on paper and panel, where her visual language examines mythology and fairytales.  These concepts are fused with larger questions of migration, mobility of tourism and global commerce and how they influence personal identity.

My work deals with specific colonial moments that reinvent place and identity as complex diasporic experiences intertwined and sometimes surreal.

Detail of installation, "A world Lost" at Smithsonian‘s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 2013, Rina Banerjee. Image Credit: http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/current/rina-banerjee.asp

Detail of installation, “A world Lost” at Smithsonian‘s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 2013, Rina Banerjee. Image Credit: http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/current/rina-banerjee.asp

Banerjee was born in Calcutta, India and relocated to the UK with her family, before settling down in the USA. She pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Polymer Engineering at Case Western University and then worked as a polymer research chemist. Banerjee decided to abandon scientific pursuit in lieu of a more symbolic and personal curiosity, which lead her to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts from Yale University. Banerjee has exhibited in a number of different art fairs and exhibitions, most recently appearing in Smithsonian‘s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, 7th Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art and the 55th Venice Biennale of 2013.

Take me, take me, take me to the Palace of Love, 2003, Rina Banerjee. Image Credit: http://www.artindiamag.com/quarter_03_03_13/now_voyager.html

Take me, take me, take me to the Palace of Love, 2003, Rina Banerjee. Image Credit: http://www.artindiamag.com/quarter_03_03_13/now_voyager.html

Despite her multicultural upbringing, there is inherent nostalgia for her cultural identity. Banerjee employs the use of heritage textiles, cultural motifs, colonial and historical objects, in order to rekindle a cultural association with the country of her origin. While using a visual language steeped in antiquarian heritage, Banerjee examines questions, which are relevant on a larger and more global level.

Banerjee uses an aesthetic that is hyper ornamental and relies on the narrative power of objects. These versatile objects, from touristy trinkets and thrift store bric-a-bracs, to bones, shells, feathers and textiles, form decorative aggregates that represent her transcultural perspective.

With or without name she was blue and who knew when she would slip into another mood for her understandable unwillingness to do, to speak to, to feel and determine her next move rests in her nest as would a Refugee 2009, Rina Banerjee. Image Credit: https://www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/exhibitions/past/2012/apt7_asia_pacific_triennial_of_contemporary_art/artists/rina_banerjee

With or without name she was blue and who knew when she would slip into another mood for her understandable unwillingness to do, to speak to, to feel and determine her next move rests in her nest as would a Refugee 2009, Rina Banerjee. Image Credit: https://www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/exhibitions/past/2012/apt7_asia_pacific_triennial_of_contemporary_art/artists/rina_banerjee

The show also features other artists who reframe the boundaries of personal identity. Similar to Banerjee, Camille Rose Garcia tackles the issue of fantasy. But the fantastical dreamscapes she paints are dystopian surrealist visions, replete with hollow eyed characters painted in a cartoon-like manner. She demonstrates the failures of capitalist utopias. Other artists like Carrie Mae Weems and Mickalene Thomas, through their art practice, answer questions relating to female black identity and beauty, through histories of racism, class and politics.

The exhibition is on view from October 3 through December 7, 2013. For additional information, please access the gallery website.

Station to Station: A Nomadic Happening

Kanika Pruthi of Saffronart talks about the upcoming Station to Station project that will transport an array of cultural experiences across the United States – on a moving train!

Station to Station- Main Banner

New York: Station to Station is an upcoming experience organized by artist Doug Aitken presenting an amalgam of shows, cultural interventions and site-specific events.  Slated to begin on September 6 2013, a train will travel across the United States of America, from New York City to San Francisco, making nine stops across the country over a period of three weeks. The train is uniquely designed as a moving installation/sculpture and will broadcast an exclusive experience to its audience. For a few days, the train will host a ‘moving’ experience, literally!

Doug Aitken, widely known for his innovative fine art installations, utilizes a wide array of media and artistic approaches, leading the viewers into a world where time, space, and memory are malleable concepts.

At each stop, Station to Station will curate leading figures from the art, music, culinary, literary, and film worlds for a series of events.  The train designed by Aitkin himself will act like a cultural studio- hosting experiences not only at the scheduled stops but also on the moving train.

Image credit: http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/20/4640974/doug-aitkin-station-to-station-train-set-to-begin-tour

Image credit: http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/20/4640974/doug-aitkin-station-to-station-train-set-to-begin-tour

The project aims at developing an endowment model for the arts given the recent cuts in funding for cultural programs in the United States. A part of the ticket sales will be utilized to support partner institutions and their programs for the year 2014. Station to Station is being made possible by the support and collaboration of the Levi’s® brand.

Artists scheduled to collaborate to bring Station to Station to life include Kenneth Anger, Olaf Breuning,  Peter Coffin,  Urs Fischer, Meschac Gaba, Liz Glynn, Carsten Holler, Christian Jankowski, Aaron Koblin, Ernesto Neto, Jack Pierson, Stephen Shore, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Lawrence Weiner; musicians Ariel Pink, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Connan Mockasin, Dan Deacon, David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors, Eleanor Friedberger, Nite Jewel, No Age, Savages and Twin Shadow; writers Dave Hickey, Barney Hoskyns and Rick Moody; and chefs Alice Waters and Leif Hedendal, and the Edible Schoolyard Project.

According to Molly Logan, the project’s Executive Producer, “Station to Station hopes that this liquid platform will empower the artists to make work that could not be realized elsewhere; the public to discover new artists and cultural expressions; and the museums to reach a global audience and continue to produce pioneering cultural programming.”

Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=650983121596003&set=pb.611884315505884.-2207520000.1377636878.&type=3&theater

Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=650983121596003&set=pb.611884315505884.-2207520000.1377636878.&type=3&theater

Following the cross-country experience, the project will continue to evolve through the museum program, the release of a documentary and a published book. To read more click here.

%d bloggers like this: