Project Atrium: Rina Banerjee

Rina Banerjee (Calcutta, India, 1963) is known for her large-scale sculptures and installations made from diverse materials that she weaves together to raise questions about exoticism, globalization and feminism. In the installation, Irresistible, irreplaceable Earth, open over interior screams, shouting in folds creased by vapors that thread fire and earth, between ground and sky; Masculine Mythologies play upon us, heavy and heaving, as the Feminine escapes, the embers beneath breathing, to tired exile, Banerjee draws inspiration from the story of the faithful Hindu goddess Sita.

In this ancient myth of exile and trial, Sita is made to endure a circle of fire to prove her innocence and devotion to her husband. For Banerjee, the story of Sita becomes a story of historic gender division, where women are valued in relation to their purity; and of Earth as a place, both valued and undervalued, in a relational pull of domination.

There are three main protagonists featured in the installation: the Dome (Mother Earth), the Sita figure, and Hanuman the monkey, a “savior” figure, mounted on the wall above. Joined by delicate threads and wrapped in folds of translucent nets, cloth, and other symbolic materials laden with multi-cultural meaning, Banerjee's installation invites us to consider our connectedness to the crisis of adaptation and human migration, and to revisit the cycle of rejuvenation and transformation that was invested in the hopes of the New World, that became the American Dream.