A recipient of the Padma Shri, the President’s Award of Master Craftsman, and the Abanindranath Award from the West Bengal Government, Meera Mukherjee was a timeless innovator with an unrivalled ability to link tradition with modernity. Mukherjee emerged onto the Indian art scene at a time that was transitional, full of change and eclecticism. Linking age-old practices with contemporary life, she imbued each of her sculptures with a sense of lyricism that transported her subjects from the familiar and ordinary to the magical. The respect and compassion for the common man and the mundane that shapes this transformation stems from the artist’s conviction that art existed in every aspect of daily life, waiting to be discovered.
Mukherjee’s sculptural practice pioneered a version of the Dhokra ‘lost wax’ method she learnt from the tribal communities of Bastar in Madhya Pradesh, perfecting a technique in bronze that was entirely her own. Her inventive process and approach consisted of sculpting the works first in wax and then building up the surface with wax strips and rolls, to give a tactile finish to the bronze in which they were eventually cast. Despite the rigidity and harshness of the metal, her sculptures maintain a delicate malleability that imbues them with a dynamic sense of rhythm.
“Meera’s world in bronze is full of movement. The viewers’ eyes do not only follow the flowing contours of the figures but also the patterns, lineatures and ornamentations animating the surfaces of her bronze sculptures. None of these figures is profane in the Western sense as all of them seem to be imbibed with something of the divine and to pulsate with flowing forces and energies.” (C. Segieth, Remembering Meera Mukherjee, exhibition catalogue, Bernried, 2012, p. 8)