Disguised in the stylistic & iconographic conventions of the miniature, her paintings are carefully constructed simulacra that reorient those conventions into strikingly sophisticated hybrid narratives about contemporary social & cultural issues, especially gender discourse. With wit and irony, the Kolkata-born artist explores India’s attitude to the female form and all its attendant meanings – whether as a mother, sexual being or figure of worship. She illuminates the positions of women in light of religious, historical, social, political & local myths. Sengupta not only breaks that unspoken taboo to make the latent eroticism of the story deliberately explicit, but she exploits it in her critique of patriarchy.
While Sengupta has been trained in a department known as "Indian Style Painting" at her undergraduate institution in Kolkata, her years at the MSU of Baroda, gave her the opportunity to work with a wide range of mediums. And today, she uses gouache, digital prints, video, serigraphy & performance to serve her purpose.
By merging mythological characters from traditional miniature art with modern pop culture she subverts the populist dichotomies: tradition vs modernity & Indian vs Western.
The fundamentally hybrid character of her work undermines the perception of art as a mirror of a state of cultural purity, underscoring instead its discursive character shaped by history & culture.
Meenakshi Sengupta (born in 1987), completed her Bachelor of Visual Arts (painting) from the Govt. College of Art & Craft of the University of Calcutta and her Master's degree (painting) with distinction (Gold Medal), from the M.S. University, Baroda, 2013.
Her works have been presented at Sunaparanta Goa Center for the Arts in April 2022, in a duo exhibition at Shifting Frames in October 2021. She had in August 2018 a solo exhibition at the Sakshi Gallery, Bombay. It was her second solo show. The first one, "Flavour Chart" was held at the Maskara Gallery in Mumbai in 2013.
She has also exhibited her work in other numerous group exhibitions in India and abroad.
She participated in the exhibition "Brightly Between Eternities - Contemporary Miniature as Evolution", Ark Gallery, Baroda, Gujarat, India, 2018; in the collateral event of the Kochi Biennale 2016 "Country Matters", Beyond Malabar, Fort Cochin, Kerala, 2016-17; "Time" - Maskara Gallery, Mumbai, 2016; "Baroda Girls" presented by Shifting Frames in Marseille in October 2016. In 2015, "A Construal of Mourning and Rage" - Emami Chisel Art - Kolkata. In 2013, her work has been exhibited at "Traditions/Transformations" - Geukens & De Vil - Antwerp, Belgium, 2013; In 2012 she participated in the Mumbai Gallery Weekend, Taj Lands End, Mumbai. In 2011, her work was part of the group show "En-Gender"- Studio 21 - Kolkata.
She also participated to different Art fairs; Art Brussels 2014 & India Art Fair, Delhi, 2019 (as well as in 2014 and 2017).
In 2017, Meenakshi received the Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation Award and was given the opportunity to collaborate with Pakistani artist Komal Shahid Khan at Harvard University. In 2012, Meenakshi received the prestigious Nasreen Mohamedi Award from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU. In 2010, she received the Academy Award from the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata & in 2009 the Nandlal Bose Award.
She lives & works in Kolkata, West Bengal.