Meera Mukherjee

Meera Mukherjee was born in Calcutta in 1923. At the age of 14, she joined the art classes run by the Indian Society of Oriental Art and studied there till 194 1. After a short break, she once again joined the Delhi Polytechnic in 1947. She received a diploma in painting, graphics and sculpture. Subsequently, she worked under the noted Indonesian painter Effendi who was a state guest and was living and working in Santiniketan. Mukherjee went to Germany in 1953 to study painting in Munich. She switched to sculpture after one term. She returned to India in 1956 after completing her course. For the next four years she taught art in a couple of schools. From 1960 onwards, she has been researching folk metal casting techniques as well as- the casting techniques of classical Indian sculptures. She has also been doing her own work and held her first show in 1960 after her return from Germany.

Mukherjee used the circ perdu or the lost wax process for her sculptures. Deeply influenced by the Dhokra sculptors of Bastar in Madhya Pradesh, Mukherjee perfected a technique in bronze that was completely her own. Similarly, she evolved an iconography that was unique. Opposing pulls of mass and movement, strength and vulnerability give an intense character to her figures enhanced by the textural play created by the use of decorative elements on the surface. Many of Mukherjee's works show the use of Bengali calligraphy on the surface. Manifestations of playfulness and whimsy often add another dimension to her work.

Mukherjee's work documents the life of the common people, - fishermen, weavers, women stitching Kantha, commuters in a crowded bus, laborers laying cables and carrying earth. Many of her sculptures also relate to music and dance. The energy and dynamism of her studies of Baul dancers or the dancing Shiva figures have a charged quality that overcomes the limitations of metal as a medium. The sense of movement is also seen in her sculptures where she visualizes a river as the universe. Two elements mark the spirit of Mukherjee's work. One is celebration of humanism and two, a yearning for reaching beyond the quotidian and rejoicing in freedom and liberation.

meera mukherjee-1.jpg (2850 bytes)

Meera Mukherjee
Untitled
Bronze
11" x 10.6" x 8.8"
1987

meera mukherjee-2.jpg (13345 bytes)

Meera Mukherjee
Ashoka at Kalinga
Bronze
65" x 139"
1972