Take Me to the Palace of Love

January 19 – May 14,  2023

Can we rescue love? This fundamental question lies at the heart of Take Me to the Palace of Love, an exhibition of artist-engineer Rina Banerjee’s drawings and three critical art installations. For it is through the nourishing power of love that we define our sense of place in our communities and on our planet. Yet, love, as Banerjee’s work discloses, has been distorted to create inequity and to destroy our relationship with the natural world. Take Me to the Palace of Love urges us restore our social and planetary connections with love. Rooted in cultural memory and storytelling, it invites us to ask: Does love play a role in how we view ourselves and shape our sense of place? Has climate change been shaped by a loss of love? How does love shape or resist gendered and racialized identities? As we come to terms with a global pandemic, these questions grow sharper and more relevant than ever. Together with the university community and our community partners in the city of Syracuse, Banerjee will engage with these questions as the university’s Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities (February 19 – March 4, 2023).

Take Me to the Palace of Love is curated by Romita Ray, Art and Music Histories. The exhibition and Banerjee’s residency is generously supported by the Syracuse University Humanities Center, along with 33 departments and units at the University, The Republic of Tea, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Support for this residency comes from the following Syracuse University schools, colleges, academic departments and units:

African American Studies, Anthropology, Art and Music Histories, Chemistry, CNY Humanities Corridor, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Law, Community Folk Art Center, East Asia Program, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Engaged Humanities Network, English, Geography, Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications Program, Hendricks Chapel, History, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Museum Studies, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Research, Office of Strategic Initiatives, Academic Affairs; Renée Crown University Honors Program, School of Architecture, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Social Differences, Social Justice Research Cluster, South Asia Center, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Art Museum, Syracuse University Humanities Center, The Lender Center for Social Justice, William P. Tolley Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities, Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), Women’s and Gender Studies, and Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition.

About the artist

Now based in New York City, Rina Banerjee was born in Kolkata, India, lived briefly in Manchester and London before arriving to Queens, New York. Drawing on her multinational background and personal history as an immigrant, Banerjee focuses on ethnicity, race, and migration and American diasporic histories in her sculpture, drawings, and video art. Her sculptures feature a wide range of globally sourced materials, textiles, colonial/historical and domestic objects while her drawings are inspired by Indian miniature and Chinese silk paintings and Aztec drawings.

In 2018 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the San José Museum of Art co-organized Banerjee’s first solo retrospective Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World featuring 60 works of sculptures, paintings, and video. The retrospective’s North American tour includes exhibitions at the San Jose Museum of Art, Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles ending at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville Tennessee in 2020. Banerjee has exhibited internationally, spanning 14 biennials worldwide, including the Venice Biennial (Biennale), Yokohama Triennale, and Kochi Biennial. Banerjee’s works are included in many private and public collections such as the Foundation Louis Vuitton, Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, San Jose Museum of Art, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum.

Banerjee returned to teaching in 2020, as a critic for the Yale School of Art Graduate Program. Between September 2021 and January 2022, she served a prestigious artist’s residency at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Related Events

Lunchtime Lecture: New Exhibitions
January 25, 12:15 p.m. at the Syracuse University Art Museum
Hear interim chief curator Melissa Yuen speak about the Museum’s new exhibitions. Explore the work of the acclaimed contemporary artist Rina Banerjee as well as an exhibition engaging with ideas around freedom, curated by SU students and faculty.

Teaching Workshop: Rina Banerjee: Take Me to the Palace of Love
January 27, 10am – noon at the Syracuse University Art Museum
Join us for a teaching workshop focusing on the work of acclaimed artist Rina Banerjee.  Open to Syracuse University faculty and graduate students teaching in spring 2023.

Art Break at the Museum: Make Your Own Palace of Love
February 14, 2 – 4 p.m. at the Syracuse University Art Museum
Make your own artwork inspired by contemporary artist Rina Banerjee’s pink plastic version of the Taj Mahal.

Being Rina Banerjee
February 20, 2023, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Virtual 
Graduate students Ankush Arora (Art History, College of Arts & Sciences) and Natalie Reith (Goldring Arts Journalism & Communications, Newhouse) help introduce the campus community to visiting artist and this year’s Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities, Rina Banerjee.

Matters Out of Place
February 21, 2023, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm at the Syracuse University Art Museum
Timur Hammond (Geography, College of Arts & Sciences) and Lawrence Chua (School of Architecture) join artist Rina Banerjee to discuss materiality, time, architecture, and geography in Banerjee’s Take Me to the Palace of Love (2003) and A World Lost (2013) on view at the museum. Space is limited; please submit a Request to Participate

Tell Me Who You Love? Race and Kinship
February 22, 2023, 3:45 pm – 5:00 pm at the Syracuse University Art Museum
Associate Professor Joan Bryant (African American Studies) and Associate Professor Romita Ray (Art History, College of Arts & Sciences) talk with Rina Banerjee about inter-racial marriage, diaspora, and identity in Banerjee’s Viola, from New Orleans, relating with objects from the museum’s collection. Space is limited; please submit a Request to Participate.

February 23, 2023, 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm at 114 Bird Library
Associate Professor Sascha Scott (Art History, College of Arts & Sciences) and SCRC Interim Co-Director/Assistant Director Nicolette Dobrowolski will moderate a ‘box lunch’ conversation with Banerjee on navigating the world of art as a woman of color and creating an artist’s archive. Space is limited; please submit a Request to Participate.

Artist Talk and Museum Reception: Rina Banerjee
February 23, 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm at Life Sciences 001
Black Noodles, Replenishing / Reaping the Earth: “…between birth and death the constant spins and oodles of noodles migrate, waffle uncertainty.”  Banerjee takes to the podium (5:30 in Life Sciences) to explore diaspora, displacement, and science in her drawings and art installations in the exhibition, Take Me to the Palace of Love. Reception follows (6:45 p.m. in Shaffer Art Building Galleria outside the museum).

Love in Syracuse: A Public Art Installation
February 25, 2023, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Salt City Market Community Room
Narratio Fellows, students, and faculty mentors from the Engaged Humanities Network join Watson Professor, Rina Banerjee, to collaborate on the pieces of a public art installation. While this activity is open to the public, space is limited. Please register by 2/18/23.

Knowing through Looking
March 1, 2023, 12:45 pm – 2:00 pm at the Syracuse University Art Museum
Focusing on Rina Banerjee’s exhibition, Art History graduate student Ankush Arora talks with Banerjee about curating an exhibition of Mithila art from India. Space is limited. Please submit a Request to Participate.

March 1, 2023, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm at the Lemke Room, Bird Library Special Collections Research Center
Rina Banerjee collaborates with Chemistry faculty, SCRC Lead Curator Courtney Hicks, and museum curators Melissa Yuen and Kate Holohan to offer a limited space workshop for interested students and campus community members, with reception to follow in the Hillyer Room. Space is limited; please submit a Request to Participate.

A World Lost? Climate Change, Art, and Law
March 2, 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm at the Syracuse University Art Museum
David M. Driesen, University Professor (School of Law) and Mike Goode, William P. Tolley Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities (English) engage Rina Banerjee in critical conversation about climate change, art, and law. Space is limited; please submit a Request to Participate.

In Conversation with Gayatri Spivak
March 3, 2023, 3 – 5:30 p.m. at the Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse 3
Rina Banerjee caps her mini-residency in conversation with special guest, Gayatri Spivak, about reason and imagination, and sign and trace. A closing reception follows in the Herg lobby.

Lunchtime Lecture: Mithila Paintings
April 5, 2023, 12:15 pm at the Syracuse University Art Museum
Join Susan Wadley, professor emeritus, for a talk on the Mithila Paintings in the museum’s permanent collection.

Chant Performance with Amarachi Attamah G’23
April 12, 2023, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.at Syracuse University Art Museum
Introduced by Ruth Opara, Art and Music Histories, and 2022-23 Art Museum Faculty Fellow

Narratio Fellows Poetry Performance
April 20, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Syracuse University Art Museum
Narratio Fellows Khadija Sharif, Zamzam Mohamed, and Justo Antonio Triana will perform original poetry inspired by Rina Banerjee’s Take Me to the Palace of Love exhibition, along with a short film screening by fellowship alum Rayan Mohammed.  A discussion and reception will follow in the Shaffer Galleria. This program is co-sponsored by the Engaged Humanities Network and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.