Kolkata, Sep 9 (IANS) A “comprehensive account” of late Bengali sculptor Meera Mukherjee’s engagement with art, essaying “her journey as an artist, the element of romanticism in her work, her sculptures” and her social involvement, will be launched here on Friday.
Titled “Purity of Vision”, the book is a collection of essays by writers who have known her personally and professionally.
It includes translated texts from the artist’s diary and excerpts from her letters, a statement by co-publisher Akar Prakar art gallery said.
Mukherjee (1923-1998) is a known name in the art circles of India, and was lauded for her “simplistic, modernist, life-like” bronze sculptures. She was awarded the 1980 Abanindranath Puruskar by the West Bengal government.
Her life and work were seen closely by the contributors of this book, which include women’s rights activist and writer Maitreyi Chatterjee, art curator Clelia Segieth, professor-sculptor Adip Dutta, Goethe-Institut former Director George Lechner, art critic and social scientist Pranabranjan Ray, and cultural historian Geeti Sen.
The curated book also contains writings from Mukherjee’s friends Maja von Rosenbladt and Shilvanti Pracht.
The book has been edited by art historian Nandini Ghosh, who says her sculpting did not follow the subtractive mode of cutting away from a block of stone or wood, but of “building up tactile, fluid, modelled volumes”.
Placing her example as a significant one in art’s regional modernism, Ghosh wrote that Mukherjee operated as an artist with a distinctive individual identity and economic independence.
As Akar Prakar’s Reena and Abhijit Lath put it in the initial pages of the book, Mukherjee also refuted the idea of restricting art to gallery display and limiting it to any cult or target audience.
“Her art was for the masses and it was from within them. She worked heartily towards keeping alive the deepest traditions which were art to her,” they wrote.
The book, containing 146 illustrations and 26 photographs, throws light on the sculptor’s personality and her artistic language and expression.
It has been co-published by Akar Prakar, Mapin Publishing, Raza Foundation and Emami Art, and will be launched here on Friday amid talks by contributors George Lechner, Pranabranjan Ray and Adip Dutta.
“Purity of Vision” will also be launched in Delhi on September 17.