Overview

Rina Banerjee, who was born in Kolkata, India and lives in New York, works with a cosmopolitan eclecticism that reflects both her transnational background and her sophisticated understanding of the narrative power of objects. Using trinkets made for the tourist trade — horn, bone, feathers, shells, textiles, glass bottles and antiques — she assembles rapturous sculptures that are mystifyingly shamanistic, yet overflowing with connotation. Her works are hyper-ornamented and lushly seductive. Conjoining rarities with cheap, mass-produced bric-a-brac, she appropriates extravagantly while rejecting hierarchies of material, culture and value.

 

In Banerjee’s paintings and delicate drawings on paper, female figures float in chimerical landscapes, often in states of transformation or with hybrid features of birds and beasts. Her titles are long, free-form refrains that immerse the viewer in the physical and emotional space of the work, heightening its quasi-mystical magnetism.

 

In a 2011 feature in Artforum, Banerjee describes the foundations of her work:

 

My mother told me that my first name is special because it is not typical in India—it is spelled differently. Hence, I was free to be what I wanted, or so I presumed. I was born in Calcutta, but I grew up in London and, then, New York, where I now live. Growing up abroad [as we called it] was a strange experience in the 1960s; there were so few Indians in the West. My parents saw themselves as international citizens. Maybe they imagined a future that we are just beginning to glimpse. I dream of this willingness to close the gaps between cultures, communities, and places. I think of identity as inherently foreign; of heritage as something that leaks away from the concept of home—as happens when one first migrates. Even my interest in science embodies an awareness of other worlds, worlds that coexist with us, but which we cannot experience or know. The sky, the stars, and the earth contain so much more than we think.

 

Freedom is the most expensive commodity; nature the most dangerous beauty. My work examines both. My art depicts a delicate world that is also aggressive, tangled, manipulated, fragile, and very, very dense.

Works
  • Rina Banerjee, She will be our Dragon, Hung Liu, quick in the Americas, in Oceans waking - grounds breaking, fly noisy, na, not mousy like, swarming bees with an ambitious love, her migration shaking, her nectar golden with wisdom, courageous in motion, making 24kt l, 2021
    Rina Banerjee
    She will be our Dragon, Hung Liu, quick in the Americas, in Oceans waking - grounds breaking, fly noisy, na, not mousy like, swarming bees with an ambitious love, her migration shaking, her nectar golden with wisdom, courageous in motion, making 24kt l, 2021
    acrylic and gold leaf on wood panel
    24 x 18 x 1 in
    61 x 45.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, I ask my mother what will I be? Will I be strong, will I have courage, will I be happy? My mother she answers with this - The future is yours to make, 2016
    Rina Banerjee
    I ask my mother what will I be? Will I be strong, will I have courage, will I be happy? My mother she answers with this - The future is yours to make, 2016
    Plastic net cloth, resin replica horn of the American buffalo, copper dirty eyes in enamel, cowry shell, brass and copper wire, copper armature, Burt out light bulbs, oversized 500 watt light bulbs, pigeon feather fans, steel chain in white enamel, 2 s hooks in steel, 1 steel armature
    96 high x 60 inches in diamater
  • Rina Banerjee, In transplant of people battle of all things grew funny and fickle until new things could be gotten and old things forgotten, 2013
    Rina Banerjee
    In transplant of people battle of all things grew funny and fickle until new things could be gotten and old things forgotten, 2013
    ink and acrylic and collage on paper
    30 x 44 in
    76.2 x 111.8 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, "Take me, take me, take me…to the Palace of Love", 2003
    Rina Banerjee
    "Take me, take me, take me…to the Palace of Love", 2003
    plastic, antique Anglo-Indian Bombay dark wood chair, steel and copper framework, floral picks, foam balls, cowrie shells, quilting pins, colored moss, antique stone globe, glass, synthetic fabric, shells, fake birds
    226 x 161 x 161 inches/574 x 408.9 x 408.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, A myriad of voices from beaten ground and buried folks, headless cries break even and odd broken sky to make sea to float like crackers baked by empires storm to make us hovel beneath, in whispers this blemish is wound, countable, not incorrect or surmoun, 2019
    Rina Banerjee
    A myriad of voices from beaten ground and buried folks, headless cries break even and odd broken sky to make sea to float like crackers baked by empires storm to make us hovel beneath, in whispers this blemish is wound, countable, not incorrect or surmoun, 2019
    acrylic and collage on handmade paper
    installation dimensions variable
    63 x 70 in
    160 x 177.8 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Captured as hostage, a threat from sky, hide or you may die, sit in reverse position, fold back your legs, pinned in the mother shepard's carpet, with for tides that stay up high why why my mother's wild nature opens and cleanse, cleared me a place to st, 2019
    Rina Banerjee
    Captured as hostage, a threat from sky, hide or you may die, sit in reverse position, fold back your legs, pinned in the mother shepard's carpet, with for tides that stay up high why why my mother's wild nature opens and cleanse, cleared me a place to st, 2019
    acrylic, gold leaf, silver leaf, faux fur and false eyelashes on paper
    30 x 22 in
    76.2 x 55.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Bearded Eye, 2015
    Rina Banerjee
    Bearded Eye, 2015
    silk fabric, freshwater pearls, gold wire, glass, plastic, steel and porcelain
    21 x 10 x 12 inches
  • Rina Banerjee, Clouds of warm gold punctured by pearls with cool luster rested like pillow on her nape’s crane and then a meditative shyness overcame her, although she was stark and ascetic her mood changed - was deeply luxurious, bathed in an industrious Heritage. Her , 2012
    Rina Banerjee
    Clouds of warm gold punctured by pearls with cool luster rested like pillow on her nape’s crane and then a meditative shyness overcame her, although she was stark and ascetic her mood changed - was deeply luxurious, bathed in an industrious Heritage. Her , 2012
    acrylic and gold leaf on panel
    13 x 9 ¾ inches, 33 x 24.8 cm
    16 ¼ x 13 inches framed (41.3 x 33 cm framed)
  • Rina Banerjee, Durga you have lived too long in New York City, inserted, vulgar habitat with eyebrows perfectly threaded, nails cut to corners sharp you strike your demons followed by our mother earth bulbous and acrobatic displaced earths movements thrown by coin or we, 2019
    Rina Banerjee
    Durga you have lived too long in New York City, inserted, vulgar habitat with eyebrows perfectly threaded, nails cut to corners sharp you strike your demons followed by our mother earth bulbous and acrobatic displaced earths movements thrown by coin or we, 2019
    acrylic and gold leaf on wood panel
    20 x 16 in
    50.8 x 40.6 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, if lotion and potion could heal--for certain her oils... one place and one face, 2006
    Rina Banerjee
    if lotion and potion could heal--for certain her oils... one place and one face, 2006
    ink, acrylic and collage on paper
    38 3/8 x 49 3/4 inches/97.5 x 126.4 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, flourish me different in wind and drift and breezes set sale always in motion and mindful adaptation, in not yet settled in fertile selection, in open folds and ceaseless creases, in remote reaches this was wrinkled and snagged touched stopped with what , 2014
    Rina Banerjee
    flourish me different in wind and drift and breezes set sale always in motion and mindful adaptation, in not yet settled in fertile selection, in open folds and ceaseless creases, in remote reaches this was wrinkled and snagged touched stopped with what , 2014
    steel structure, textiles, beads, feathers, thread, bulbs
    36 x 40 x 20 inches/91.4 x 101.6 x 50.8 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Fortune Teller, tell me my fortune is wrong, my marrow is strong, dreams are crowns that coil like eels, locks of hair too quick to tangle, make my bangles loose, bring me back to me at home where I can be without the sting of your rage-like noose, 2018
    Rina Banerjee
    Fortune Teller, tell me my fortune is wrong, my marrow is strong, dreams are crowns that coil like eels, locks of hair too quick to tangle, make my bangles loose, bring me back to me at home where I can be without the sting of your rage-like noose, 2018
    acrylic, marbled paper collage and gold leaf on paper
    30 x 22 in
    76.2 x 55.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Garish and Golden while tied up pretty and never perfect she woke to walk to do this and that. She never frittered or felt frozen. She broke all spells of sluggishness, dressed brightly into sunny movement without his paternal patronizing folded., 2021
    Rina Banerjee
    Garish and Golden while tied up pretty and never perfect she woke to walk to do this and that. She never frittered or felt frozen. She broke all spells of sluggishness, dressed brightly into sunny movement without his paternal patronizing folded., 2021
    copper tape, gold leaf, cotton velvet, cotton eyelet fabric, acrylic, ink, pencil and dye on paper
    15 x 11 in
    38.1 x 27.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Lady of Commerce. Hers is a transparent beauty, her eager sounds, her infinite and clamorous land and river, ocean and island, earth and sky...all contained, bottled for delivery to an open hole, a commerce so large her arms stretched wide and her sulfuro, 2012
    Rina Banerjee
    Lady of Commerce. Hers is a transparent beauty, her eager sounds, her infinite and clamorous land and river, ocean and island, earth and sky...all contained, bottled for delivery to an open hole, a commerce so large her arms stretched wide and her sulfuro, 2012
    hand painted, leaded glass chandelier, wood figurine, vintage glass bottles, chandelier ornaments, birdcage, steel, wood pedestal, lace, cowry shells, taxidermy deer paws, Indian marriage jewelry, ostrich eggshells, porcelain doll hands, silver leaf, gold leaf, wire, linen cord, and marble baby doll hands
    120 x 48 inches/304.8 x 121.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Hair can stare, be there stare back, if you have unsightly ends or attachments make good friends, curls no longer just relaxing, perfecting and re asking who has more fun if the fun is not for men solely., 2019
    Rina Banerjee
    Hair can stare, be there stare back, if you have unsightly ends or attachments make good friends, curls no longer just relaxing, perfecting and re asking who has more fun if the fun is not for men solely., 2019
    acrylic on paper
    30 x 22 in
    76.2 x 55.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Stolen lives, beetle black drops littered darkness, hid her and twice that hid the mischief of men. Blackened tears of mineral, seeds of complicated race hiding from hiding watered hate. So she spread spread sunny dress, cover me open with pinker clouds a, 2019
    Rina Banerjee
    Stolen lives, beetle black drops littered darkness, hid her and twice that hid the mischief of men. Blackened tears of mineral, seeds of complicated race hiding from hiding watered hate. So she spread spread sunny dress, cover me open with pinker clouds a, 2019
    acrylic and silver leaf on paper
    30 x 22 in
    76.2 x 55.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Her hair was there while lost in one place. Not to stare if her sunny dome could be roped to be opened. Buttered in benevolence, seated dead center her a balding beacon, her mind a temple, crossing all paths, all forsaken, never stolen and always bolder., 2021
    Rina Banerjee
    Her hair was there while lost in one place. Not to stare if her sunny dome could be roped to be opened. Buttered in benevolence, seated dead center her a balding beacon, her mind a temple, crossing all paths, all forsaken, never stolen and always bolder., 2021
    ink and acrylic on paper
    15 x 11 in
    38.1 x 27.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Jack Fruit Johnny she was a diasporic Devi changed her name to honey changed her faith to sunny, changed this sex to something funny, changed her city to new York City -all for reason to be far far away from misery and war for money, 2015
    Rina Banerjee
    Jack Fruit Johnny she was a diasporic Devi changed her name to honey changed her faith to sunny, changed this sex to something funny, changed her city to new York City -all for reason to be far far away from misery and war for money, 2015
    Cotton thread, paper mache vessel base, steel stand, vintage porcelain doll head, silk fabric with printing, porcupine needles, silver blue leaf, plastic trim
    60 x 18 x 20 in
    152.4 x 45.7 x 50.8 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Her pose was well composed and deities would not be opposed rather they worried that her leg would not close as this leg was more like her hand, fingers stronger than mischevious spider arms, 2011
    Rina Banerjee
    Her pose was well composed and deities would not be opposed rather they worried that her leg would not close as this leg was more like her hand, fingers stronger than mischevious spider arms, 2011
    ink & acrylic on watercolor paper
    15 x 11 in
    38 x 28 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Native, migrant naturally, 2018
    Rina Banerjee
    Native, migrant naturally, 2018
    vintage silk wedding sari with gold thread brocade, vintage brass claw furniture cap, steel, copper leaf, copper nails, wood, silk, cotton, sequins, gourd, polyester threads, wax, cowry shells, Victorian doll, eyelashes, silk trim, pheasant feathers on felt hat plates
    26 x 13 x 24 in
    66 x 33 x 61 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, In a delicate storm of some mystery they fluttered..., 2006
    Rina Banerjee
    In a delicate storm of some mystery they fluttered..., 2006
    mixed media on paper
    50 x 38 1/4 inches/127 x 97.2 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Human stain, release us from fearing the fears of our others who are in pain. Stay awhile to listen to this unwanted stain, hiding, heard or frozen stares be gone as we come together, our girls, children to grow away from silence and her sister - shame. , 2019
    Rina Banerjee
    Human stain, release us from fearing the fears of our others who are in pain. Stay awhile to listen to this unwanted stain, hiding, heard or frozen stares be gone as we come together, our girls, children to grow away from silence and her sister - shame. , 2019
    acrylic and collage on paper
    30 x 22 in
    76.2 x 55.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Muscle and music made her cupid shy while he was quiet and stylist, whisked her body, captured she traversed to guard false against masculinities fated to be very stupid., 2021
    Rina Banerjee
    Muscle and music made her cupid shy while he was quiet and stylist, whisked her body, captured she traversed to guard false against masculinities fated to be very stupid., 2021
    ink and acrylic on paper
    15 x 11 in
    38.1 x 27.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Native girls, indigenous heart, In DNA, is that you in my dream between desert and tropics walking in line in perfect pollination and alienation conceived me foreign by day and first born by night., 2019
    Rina Banerjee
    Native girls, indigenous heart, In DNA, is that you in my dream between desert and tropics walking in line in perfect pollination and alienation conceived me foreign by day and first born by night., 2019
    acrylic, aluminum leaf and gold leaf on wood panel
    20 x 16 in
    50.8 x 40.6 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Mixed, mixed up, her islands could sweat, loose weight and then gain from pineapple Hawaiian to Puerto Rico picante and to fire island too, Haitian to Dominican this American America will not be still, never dull and never without new fruit., 2021
    Rina Banerjee
    Mixed, mixed up, her islands could sweat, loose weight and then gain from pineapple Hawaiian to Puerto Rico picante and to fire island too, Haitian to Dominican this American America will not be still, never dull and never without new fruit., 2021
    ink and acrylic on paper
    16 x 12 in
    40.6 x 30.5 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Relocation? is this a dislocation? An undercover twisted formation? migration trapped in geography and distress of growing garbage of plastic bags in the sea, she in sea to shining sea, America reminded her, her of her or he as she not to be confused by a, 2019
    Rina Banerjee
    Relocation? is this a dislocation? An undercover twisted formation? migration trapped in geography and distress of growing garbage of plastic bags in the sea, she in sea to shining sea, America reminded her, her of her or he as she not to be confused by a, 2019
    acrylic and copper leaf on paper
    30 x 22 in
    76.2 x 55.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Sex-bait, in likeness to fish bait to catch her as disloyalty in likeness to Eve, to arouse her fear, to create racial panic of black jewels like honey to stir and stir poisonous passions, minted money out lynching funny, 2017
    Rina Banerjee
    Sex-bait, in likeness to fish bait to catch her as disloyalty in likeness to Eve, to arouse her fear, to create racial panic of black jewels like honey to stir and stir poisonous passions, minted money out lynching funny, 2017
    ceramic vintage negro head, Victorian brown bitters bottle, red silk tassels, Murano glass in opaque black, and steel armature
    34 x 23 x 13 in
    86.4 x 58.4 x 33 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, She had guts! She got lost and she fought a lot, hung her inside cords, colon, stomached all that she could. She stood on a beach with one arm a hook and the other held fish, held out her actions, feared no God as nature, her mother was on her heel's side, 2019
    Rina Banerjee
    She had guts! She got lost and she fought a lot, hung her inside cords, colon, stomached all that she could. She stood on a beach with one arm a hook and the other held fish, held out her actions, feared no God as nature, her mother was on her heel's side, 2019
    acrylic, collage and copper leaf on paper
    30 x 22 in
    76.2 x 55.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Warm marigolds, floating homeland, how much further from where I began can I travel in either direction away, away, within reminders of being foreign fading into salty horizons., 2021
    Rina Banerjee
    Warm marigolds, floating homeland, how much further from where I began can I travel in either direction away, away, within reminders of being foreign fading into salty horizons., 2021
    acrylic on paper
    15 x 11 in
    38.1 x 27.9 cm
  • Rina Banerjee, Standing trial by man and the family of Man denied she wore the hardest but turtle shells on her mossy back heels dug on hers alone a golden island with foaming waters at edge, exhausted by humanity his fears of others, mothers, girls and boys that could , 2019
    Rina Banerjee
    Standing trial by man and the family of Man denied she wore the hardest but turtle shells on her mossy back heels dug on hers alone a golden island with foaming waters at edge, exhausted by humanity his fears of others, mothers, girls and boys that could , 2019
    acrylic and gold leaf on wood panel
    20 x 16 in
    50.8 x 40.6 cm
Exhibitions
Press
News
Events
Art Fairs