A Sight to See: Rina Banerjee Exhibition at PAFA

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) is internationally known for its rare and unique collections of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. 

In collaboration with the San José Museum of Art (SJMA), PAFA is currently partnering with Rina Banerjee and her one-of-a-kind exhibit entitled, Make Me A Summary of the World.

Banerjee’s life and her art emerge from and represent the broadest reaches of the globe. Born in Kolkata, India, Banerjee spent much of her youth in the northeastern region of the United States, including Philadelphia, and she has traveled widely internationally. Her paintings and sculptures investigate various themes, which overlap throughout her works, such as immigration and identity, colonialism and globalization, climate change, and feminism.

In addressing the theme of identity, PAFA says, “In turn, [Banerjee’s] wider practice challenges current nativist political leanings by proposing a multi-faceted nature of identity; not based exclusively on a person’s culture of origin or gender, but instead on self-identity. These inclusive and freeing conceptions of the ‘self’ manifest themselves throughout Banerjee’s ever-evolving work – in fragmented figures, riotous use of color, and symbolic materials. Paired with her thought-provoking and poetic titles, Banerjee’s works relentlessly query contemporary modes of artistic production and societal engagement.”

To create her masterpieces, Banerjee gathers materials and objects from global marketplaces to fashion her large pieces such as glass, feathers, and lightbulbs. Since Philadelphia gained the status of World Heritage City in 2015, numerous educational initiatives have developed to enable the city’s populations, especially the youth, to become more aware of international connections in the past and present.  

Click here for more information about the exhibit, which will be on display at PAFA until the end of March 2019.

Upon completion at PAFA, the exhibit will travel to the following locations:

  • With co-organizer San José Museum of Art, California (May 18 - October 6, 2019)
  • Fowler Museum at University of California, Los Angeles (December 8, 2019 - May 31, 2020)
  • Frist Art Museum, Nashville, Tennessee (July 24 - October 25, 2020)
  • Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (February 18 - July 11, 2021)


Article written by Kyle Purchase on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association