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18th Street Arts Center is pleased to present Ranu Mukherjee’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Dear Future, which features a multiple channel hybrid film and a selection of mixed-media paintings informed by ruptures and imaginary forests. Mukherjee contemplates forests as sites of survival, biodiversity, non-human agency, indigenous struggle, and interspecies communication. In her speculative process, an emergent urban forest connects visions of an ecological future with histories of colonization and the lush internal spaces of longing, desire, and the imagination. 

This exhibition is on view in the Propeller Gallery at 18th Street Arts Center’s Airport Campus (3026 Airport Ave. in Santa Monica) from September 6, 2022 – March 11, 2023. 

Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 11am-5pm, Saturday 12-5pm. Masks are required at all times. Walk ins are welcome. 

In this exhibition, Mukherjee takes various approaches to awaken her deep connections with nature and multi-dimensional experience. In layered tableaux, Mukherjee moves imagery and ideas across a variety of surfaces. She composes her paintings with saturated pigment and sari cloth, on which she prints abstract patterns created from digital images of civil and environmental rights demonstrations. Images of extinct birds appear in the paintings; their songs are heard in the film and their rhythms inform choreography. In the film installation Ensemble for Nonlinear Time/ hangar 22,  forests are imagined in collaboration with choreographer Hope Mohr and cast: dancers Belinda He, Irene Hsi and Karla Quintero and artists Beatriz Escobar, Sunroop Kaur and Claudia Soares. The film sets choreography in animation, building on from two years of embodied storytelling workshops for immigrant and refugee artists held at 18th Street Arts Center and ARTogether (Oakland) exploring how rupture—and the expertise gained from navigating it—can be a starting point for feeling our way into new futures. 

Public programming will include workshops, discussions and live performances.


Ranu Mukherjee
Photo by Taylor Johnson

Ranu Mukherjee is an American artist of Indian and European descent. She makes hybrid work in painting, moving image, and installation to build new imaginative capacities, guided by the forces of ecology and non-human agency, diaspora and migration, motherhood, and transnational feminisms. 

With her residency project Ensemble for Non-Linear Time, she works with dense imaginary forests as a protagonist, both in her solitary painting  and with cast and workshop participants. In collaboration with choreographer Hope Mohr, their fall workshop series Imagining Futures engaged immigrant and refugee artists in somatic and visual explorations to connect with experiences of rupture as sources of expertise and imagination that often go unrecognized . An ensemble cast for performance and film works includes workshop artists Beatriz Escobar, Sunroop Kaur and Claudia Soares and dancers Belinda He, Irene Hsi and Karla Quintero. This work has been supported by 18th Street Arts Center, 836 M San Francisco, ARTogether Oakland, Bridge Live Arts, Gallery Wendi Norris and Montalvo Art Center. 

Mukherjee has exhibited nationally and internationally, including commissioned projects for the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, de Young Museum, Karachi Biennale 2019, Los Angeles County Museum of Contemporary Art, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Jose Museum of Art, SIngapore Biennial 2022 and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Recent awards include a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2020) and a Lucas Visual Arts Fellowship at Montalvo Arts Center (2019-2022). Her work is in the collections of Asian Art Museum, De Young Museum, The Avery, Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, Kadist Foundation, JP Morgan, Oakland Museum of California and the San Jose Museum of Art. She is represented by Gallery Wendi Norris who published her first monograph Shadowtime in 2021. She is co-founder of media collective 0rphan drift and Chair of Film at California College of the Arts. Mukherjee earned her MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London and BFA in Painting with a minor in Film from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston.


This exhibition is generously supported by the National Endowment of the Arts, California Arts Council, Santa Monica Division of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, the Mike Kelley Foundation, LA Arts Recovery Fund, 18th Street’s Board of Directors and 18th Street’s generous community of donors. 

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