Benode Behari Mukherjee
(1904–1980)

Benode Behari Mukherjee and Visva-Bharati News, collections Sushobhan Adhikary, and Abhijit Lath and Reena Lath, installation view, Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA)—Pireos Street (“Nikos Kessanlis” Exhibition Hall), documenta 14, photo: Yiannis Hadjiaslanis

Benode Behari Mukherjee and Visva-Bharati News, collections Sushobhan Adhikary, and Abhijit Lath and Reena Lath, installation view, Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA)—Pireos Street (“Nikos Kessanlis” Exhibition Hall), documenta 14, photo: Yiannis Hadjiaslanis

Benode Behari Mukherjee and Visva-Bharati News, collections Sushobhan Adhikary, and Abhijit Lath and Reena Lath, installation view, Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA)—Pireos Street (“Nikos Kessanlis” Exhibition Hall), documenta 14, photo: Yiannis Hadjiaslanis

Benode Behari Mukherjee and Visva-Bharati News, collections Sushobhan Adhikary, and Abhijit Lath and Reena Lath, installation view, Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA)—Pireos Street (“Nikos Kessanlis” Exhibition Hall), documenta 14, photo: Yiannis Hadjiaslanis

Benode Behari Mukherjee (1904–80) was a leading modernist artist and teacher at Kala Bhavana (Institute of Fine Arts) in Santiniketan, West Bengal. Besides working with drawing, wax sculptures, collage, and printmaking techniques (with a particular interest in East Asian and Japanese traditions), he composed large painted murals on campus buildings, fostering Rabindranath Tagore’s ideas of a living architectural environment and outdoor learning. Mukherjee faced difficulties with his eyesight throughout his life, but continued his artistic work even after going blind, considering this “a new state of being.” He was a mentor to artists such as K. G. Subramanyan and Somnath Hore, and the filmmaker Satyajit Ray.

In a series of historic sketches the artist portrays the daily learning environment at the rural art school and its traditions around theater, music, and collective debate.

Visva-Bharati News
The display of several published issues of the Visva-Bharati News reveals the educational philosophy, internationalism, and generational mentorship within a radical rural pedagogic framework pursued at Kala Bhavana (Institute of Fine Arts) in Santiniketan, founded and led by poet-philosopher Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941). The selected issues include Tagore’s poems, original prints made by the artist-teachers at Santiniketan, essays, and letters outlining details of the curriculum, educational travels, dance dramas as a tool of learning, and outreach toward rural development carried out across the campus.

Posted in Public Exhibition
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