We are pleased to invite you the next artist talk of On Making, 2020 – a series that delves into the age-old query of “how do we make?” Tracing the different arcs of art and exhibition-making and how these might respond to the changing contours of tomorrow, we have with us this week the polymath artist Rina Banerjee.
Born in 1963 to Indian immigrant parents, Rina Banerjee grew up in briefly in London and Manchester and later chiefly in New York. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Case Western University in Cleveland Ohio, and went on to pursue a career as a Polymer Research Chemist before making the switch to a formal study of painting and art historical practice at the Penn State University. Encouraged in the 1990s by David Driskell, Banerjee changed professions entirely by enrolling in the Yale School of Art’s MFA in Painting and Printmaking. With a scholarship at Yale’s Feminist Thought Program, Rina began teaching there while earning her MFA degree and continues to be counted today as a ‘core critic’ at her alma mater.
For Banerjee, Yale was central to understanding the role that education can play for an artist and it was here she shaped her studio practice alongside an interest in critical thinking, art history, and visual culture. Visual anthropology, Orientalism, Ethnicity, Race and Migration as well as intricacies of Feminist Thought and Theory are some important bodies of knowledge to which Banerjee was drawn to, and these became a pivotal conduit to the identity politics visited in her art-making. Working in diverse locations has allowed Banerjee’s subject matter to be truly global.
Her work has been featured in 13 biennials and is included in several private and public collections such as the Foundation Louis Vuitton, Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Centre George Pompidou, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, San Jose Museum of Art, Kiran Nada Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum.
In her talk, Rina Banerjee will take us through this heterogenous practice explored in her retrospective Make Me a Summary of the World – which closed in March 2019 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She is joined in conversation by Phalguni Guliani and Saloni Doshi.