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The Woman and Her Colors

The Woman and Her Colors

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Meenakshi Jha Banerjee

An established painter in her own right, Meenakshi Jha Banerjee’s works have gained acclamation in not only India but also abroad. To know more about her please go through the article.

By Ananya Das Goon

Meenakshi Jha Banerjee is a painter, working consistently for the past 22 years in Bihar (INDIA) while exploring with the simplistic elements of Mithila, embedded in the folk paintings of the region. Her experimentations with the traditional elements of Mithila has evolved as a signature style of her own where the feelings, emotions, elements, intricacies and tradition merge into current subjects, modern medium and contemporary skill sets. She responds to social actions and contemporization.Minute and intricate detailing besides multiple layering is the essence of her palate and mood.

Meenakshi with Gulzar Saab
Meenakshi with Gulzar Saab

Banerjee’s work has a dimension of her research based collection of human interactions and humanistic interfaces. Her works are in collections and displays at various Government and corporate organizations like the Offices of Govt. of Bihar, Buddha International Museum, Patna Indian Railways, Airport Authority, Life Insurance Corporation of India, UNICEF, ITC, IFFCO etc. Organisations like Indian oil, Kalyanpur Cement, Allahabad bank, Indian army have also patronized her works.

Untitled - 4x8 - Acrylic on paper
Untitled – 4×8 – Acrylic on paper

Recently one of Meenakshi`s works has been published as a cover in Australia under the auspices of  #IncredibleIndiamovement jointly by the Ministries of Tourism of the either countries, and now a part of The National Library of Australia. She has a few paintings at various private collections internationally. Significantly, she rides a car which she painted all-over in 2015 and named it Bahuriya. She painted a second car at International Artist camp at Siwan, Bihar in 2018.

Meenakshi with her painted car
Meenakshi with her painted car

Her works are available on online portals like Mojarto and StoryLTD. Her collectors are from Europe, USA, Canada, Africa and major metros of India, who regularly patronize her works through online portals. She has been adorned with a couple of laurels including BIHAR KALA SAMMAN 2013, and TILKA MANJHI RASTRIYA SAMMAN 2019. She has been covered by national and international media, widely for her experimentations, which can be easily traced on Google and YouTube.

Untitled - 4X8- Acrylic on paper

In her private life, Banerjee has established a social enterprise named Kahaanighar. She says, “We have taken a lot from the society. It’s time to pay back”.  She has been paying back to the society through Kahaanighar which has emerged over the last two years as an outfit which nurtures and imbibes culture into children and the society around them. Major part of her earnings goes towards the cost of affairs for nurturing Kahaanighar. Kahaanighar conducts film shows, art sessions, musical symposiums, creative camps, mathematics classes and many more such activities against no fees. It’s a place with free entry for all.

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Meenakshi working with rural artists
Meenakshi working with rural artists

Art, literature and culture are the roots of the society. With the changing times, the society too has to evolve to see the new way of behavior and literary art. Contemporary artists are constantly creating new horizons of new experiments, unique creations, and cultural richness, the tendency to see which gives new energy to art lovers too. However, the hallmark of contemporary art is that it has been a pioneer in the thinking of its time, keeping a free mind in artistic experiments.

Meenakshi with prominent artist Jatin Das
Meenakshi with prominent artist Jatin Das

According to Meenakshi, “Contemporary art has given more importance to perspective and concepts than to beauty. My personal opinion says that some of the traditional artists have also been experimentalists. My colors are basically bright colors, which is common in most of the folk arts. But the influence of Bengal art after marriage also affected my lines, colors and subjects. Due to social concerns, some social issues have been the main themes of my paintings. In 2003, I did many works based on the lives of eunuchs. Sometimes the ban on bar girls in Mumbai was my subject, and sometimes my paintings were made in protest against the acid attack, but as a fundamental identity, elements of Mithila were present in my paintings. I have been constantly influenced by the paintings of many artists. Basically, things related to the life of women have been vocal in my paintings.”

meenakshi with her paintings
Meenakshi with her paintings

“Art or literature has been expressing its views, sometimes directly or indirectly, although farsightedness and imagination are of great importance in art or literature.With the passage of time, some changes have happened in my work, or are coming. I think, with increasing age, as there is a gradual change in our face and behavior, similarly changes can be seen in our pictures too. ‘Art’ for me is a way of life, which I practice not only on paper, canvas, but also in everyday practices of life. I seek art in everyday life. I go to the settlements working with the children, and then I see art in the mud of their houses, in a decorated rickshaw, in the makeup of a goat, sometimes in the colorful clothes of the band player and sometimes by the vegetable seller. Sometimes in the handcart, the residence of art is seen in the tent shamiyana. Society is also not untouched by art. I live all these and enjoy.”

“Art is the soul of the society, without it we will become robots, we will not be human. There is cosmic in my paintings, there is society, there is human emotions.”

-Meenakshi Jha Banerjee
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