Make Me a Summary of the World was a 2019 PAFA exhibition of Rina Banerjee’s work. Banerjee’s paintings, mixed media sculpture and installations serve as her commentary on what she calls “the splintered experience of identity, tradition, and culture within diasporic communities.” Banerjee’s powerful work seemed all the more compelling to me because it was juxtaposed with the more traditional Western works of art gracing the hallowed halls of the Academy.
Banerjee’s recurring themes are environmental awareness, colonialism, the perils of globalism and the “splintered experiences of identity, tradition, and culture, prevalent in diasporic communities.”
A World Lost is Banerjee’s representation of how an imaginary island changed after pollution set in,the water evaporated, the population migrated, and the wildlife became extinct.
Banerje’s sculpture is replete with found objects: eggshells, discarded plastic, light bulbs, shells, ornaments, doll parts, rocks, feathers, stones and anything else needed to carry the message.
Other recurring themes include feminism, mythology and the impact of colonialism. There was a lot to see in this exhibit and even more to think about.