Women Artists and their Indian Sculptures have always been underrepresented in Indian art history; despite their achievements, women artists continue to be underrepresented in galleries, exhibitions, Indian Scultures and even auction catalogs. Women sculptors, on the other hand, have had a unique challenge: sculpting has long been perceived as a masculine endeavor, and as a result, women’s abilities have been questioned numerous times during their lives. Many of them are still regarded as “invisible” and “forgotten.”
While we read about various sculptors and their Indian Sculptures, get yourself a treat and get paintings for sale!
Here are five female sculptors who have made their mark in the realm of Indian sculpture:
Leela Mukherjee (1916–2003) was an Indian actress and made some amazing Indian Sculptures who lived from 1916 to 2003.
Leela Mukherjee studied painting and sculpture at Shantiniketan, where she met her future husband, visionary Indian artist Benode Behari Mukherjee. Female artists were frequently eclipsed by their male peers’ achievements, and Leela was no exception. Leela was influenced by the works of master sculptor Ramkinkar Baij at Shantiniketan. She also assisted Benode with the murals he painted on the campus during her tenure at Shantiniketan, the most noteworthy of which is the gigantic wall painting at Hindi Bhavana (Medieval Indian Saints) produced in 1947.
Leela traveled to Kathmandu with her husband in 1949 to become the curator of the Nepal Government Museum, where she learned the skill of wood and stone carving from his friend, the famed Nepali artist Kulasundar Shilakarmi. Her specialty was wood carving, and she sculpted aboriginal person shapes with aplomb.
Following their departure from Nepal and a brief stay in Rajasthan, the couple relocated to Mussoorie, where Leela opened a nursery school and Benode Behari built an art teacher training center. She moved on to work full-time at Dehradun’s Welham’s Preparatory School, where their daughter was a student.
Mrinalini Mukherjee (1949–2015), their daughter, went on to become a well-known international sculptor.
Her distinct contemporary style was noted for its use of colored and weaved hemp fiber – an unusual material for sculpture. Mrinalini Mukherjee is one of India’s most acclaimed contemporary painters, with a career spanning four decades.
Pilloo Pochkhanawala, a sculptor from Bombay, is considered one of the pioneers of Indian modern art. She worked in advertising before deciding to pursue sculpting as a form of expression. During a trip to Europe in 1951, she was inspired by artists like Henry Moore and Constantin Brâncuși, and she improved her talents as a self-taught artist. Her art includes everything from minute preparatory sketches and theatre sets to massive public sculptures in a variety of materials. They were all created to investigate the link between nature, time, and space.
Meera Mukherjee (1923–1998) was an Indian actress who lived from 1923 to 1998.
Meera Mukherjee was one of India’s most prolific sculptors in the post-independence period. She denied any feminist context in her work as a staunch individualist, seeing herself as a professional first and a woman second. Mukherjee received her first sculpture classes in India and then went on to Munich to pursue her technical education.
Mukherjee was commissioned by the Anthropological Survey of India to document the practices of metal-craftsmen in Central India after returning to India. Observing and writing about folk crafts gradually transformed her into an ‘artist – anthropologist.’
Jasu Shilpi (1948–2013) was an Indian artist who lived from 1948 to 2013.
In a career spanning nearly four decades, Jasu Shilpi, often known as the ‘Bronze Woman of India,’ made more than 225 large-scale statues and 525 bust-size statues in bronze. She was one of only five women in her class at Sheth C. N. College Of Fine Arts in Ahmedabad, where she had had an interest in art since infancy! Jason excelled in other forms of art as well, despite her preference for sculpture (particularly in the mediums of bronze, metal, and stone). She opted to pursue Sculpting as a career after completing her training and gave some great Indian Sculptures to us!