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Ota Fine Arts Singapore
7 Lock Road
#02-13 Gillman Barracks
Singapore 108935   map * 
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Migration's Breath
by Ota Fine Arts Singapore
Location: Ota Fine Arts Singapore
Artist(s): Rina BANERJEE
Date: 23 Jan - 21 Mar 2015

“Her Moist Breath warm with saliva and scent punctured mountain pleasured a thousand cultures of magnificent Migrations in Mist hidden bewildering beasts and plant blew winds for wandering trumpeted of conch and sprinkled cowry shell as money , came to launch commerce by mouth of river to open sea spoke sirens to fold all difference into a single hunger for more to eat”

Ota Fine Arts Singapore is delighted to present "Migration's Breath", a solo exhibition featuring new sculptures, works on paper and lithographs by Indian-born, New York-based artist Rina Banerjee. One of the foremost artists of the post-colonial diaspora, Banerjee's work is intricate and enchanting.

Having grown up in mixed cultural communities and urban sites as far apart as Kolkata and New York City, Rina Banerjee's multi-faceted creations fuse the boundaries between East and West while seeking for a more globalised, permeable sense of space and history.

Conscious of our increased mobility with tourism and accumulated capital, her work contemplates the meaning of the exotic in the wake of colonialism, the forces and trajectories of migration and diaspora, and the traces they leave behind.

For her first solo presentation in Singapore, Banerjee has titled the exhibition "Migration's Breath" -- extracted from a longer run-on sentence that straddles a fantastical line between a brief allegory and symbolic poetry. Like many of her other works' titles, though at first glance they may seem random or nonsensical, each word is in fact carefully chosen to bear significance. In this instance, the fuller title is a tale of the cross-fertilisation of cultures, languages and trade, opening and collapsing differences so that a singular, united humanity emerges.

As sensitive as Rina Banerjee is towards multiple textual meanings and linguistic legacies in her titles, so she is also with the materials she uses in her work. For "Migration's Breath", she has prepared four new sculptures, six works on paper and two lithographs. In all of these strains, through the technique of collage, Banerjee is able to appropriately represent the density of the urban experience by suggesting disparate phenomena and ideas to coexist within the same framework.

Though easily found in thrift stores or street markets, each of the objects used in her sculptures are selected with awareness of their origins and manufacturing heritages. She uses items as varied as feathers, textiles, epoxy horns, beads and umbrellas to explore the material manifestations of anthropology, ethnography, mythologies and the Indian diaspora. Banerjee first dismantles and then "reclaims" their readymade status into the hand-made, underlining their unique value and reconstructing them into exquisite metaphors for the urban, post-colonial, expatriated community of which she is a part. This exhibition represents a cross-section of this fascinating body of research and work.

About the artist

Born in Kolkata, India in 1963, the now New York City-based artist Rina Banerjee first pursued a career in chemical sciences before completing her MFA in painting at Yale University School of Art, where she won several prestigious awards. Her love of materials, from heritage textiles and fashion to colonial objects, historical architecture, ethnography and mythology, coupled with the experience of growing up within communities of mixed cultural backgrounds and urban sites provide the content and context for her work. She has been featured at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), the 7th Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art (2012), "The Greater New York Show" at the MoMA PS1 (2005) and the Whitney Biennial (2000). Her work is held in museum collections worldwide, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; amongst many others.  

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