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MEERA MUKHERJEE (1923-1998)
PROPERTY OF A PARSI GENTLEMAN I have never made art for art's sake. Nor have I done what I have done with any hope of gain. The beginning of every work I have taken on, has been an impulse. However, ideas, emotions, are only the beginning, to realize them in forms, calls for sustained physical as well as mental effort. (Artist statement, Meera Mukherjee: A Retrospective, 1963-1983, exhibition catalogue, Mumbai, April, 1983)
MEERA MUKHERJEE (1923-1998)

Untitled (Srishti)

Details
MEERA MUKHERJEE (1923-1998)
Untitled (Srishti)
bronze
8 x 11 x 12¾ in. (20.3 x 27.9 x 32.4 cm.)
Executed circa 1970s
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist, late 1970s

Lot Essay

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. She 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 they were eventually cast in. Despite the solidity and harshness of the bronze, her sculptures maintain a delicate malleability that imbues them with a dynamic sense of rhythm.

Mukherjee developed an iconography that was personal and unique, and through the evolution of her work formulated an idiom that has its character rooted in the folk traditions of the past. Like a colloquial tongue, however, it expresses itself with such reinscribed relevance that it resonates within the contemporary. Untitled (Srishti) combines the domestic with the cosmological. This at first seems a tender but simple domestic scene of a woman attentively embroidering a long flowing quilt. Upon closer inspection, one sees that the quilt is exquisitely adorned with flora and fauna, which seem to flow across the material as if alive. There is a dynamism and sense of musical movement that animates this work in bronze. This is, in fact, a depiction of the creation of the universe, a fantastical and teleological marvel, that captures Mukherjee's ability to transcend genre and confound convention.

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