Manjiree Monolkar – Art Exhibition “A New Beginning” #GalleriesM

Written by Anuj Prajapati

Manjiree’s original qualification is Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery. Her journey as an artist is quite interesting. After graduation, she did in masters in Personnel Management and joined Government service. Drawing has been her passion since childhood but she never got any formal education in arts. It was only after moving to Boston for her husband’s education and then his job that she found a time and opportunity to pursue her long time wish of learning art formally. Manjiree then made her portfolio and sent it to various art schools. She not just got accepted by some of the schools but she got Dean’s scholarship from Maine College of Art, Portland, ME. Masters in Fine Arts is their flagship program and they were eager to welcome Manjiree because the cultural diversity she would bring to the class.

Before making her portfolio Manjiree did some Art History courses from local colleges and a summer program in painting at MassArt, Boston, MA. That proved good for her orientation. The MFA program was rigorous but that is just what was needed. Good faculty, class critics, peer learning, and visiting artists made learning a fun. Manjiree’s thesis work for graduation was about “Power”. In her opinion art must have a social sense. Through her art, she tried to explore something as abstract as ( and as elusive as) ‘Power’. Power can mean different things to different people. It can be seductive, repulsive, frightening and many other things. She used figurative imagery and symbolism to get those different aspects out. She made a comprehensive body of work. She handled different mediums from printmaking, oil on canvas, inks on paper to making stop motion animation films to get her message out.


But after spending a lot of time with the theme and the concept she is moving on to other themes and mediums. Her new exhibition is titled ” A New Beginning” but it shows her new as well as some old works. In her latest work, you will find more expressionist work using resist technique. It is a mixed media using water media and oil based colors/ pastels/ oil sticks on paper. She has used figurative imagery and mostly rooster fights. As cliche as it might sound, she finds fun making these. Italian artist Francesco Clemente says that” Basic human desire is the desire for narrative, to have a story or to tell a story”. Manjiree likes stories, myths, and narratives. There is a story that goes with this theme.

“A man sees two beautiful roosters fighting each other in the jungle. They are probably fighting for a female or it is just a friendly fight. He is fascinated and catches them, gets them home. He starts teaching them more fierce fighting. He charges money from people to watch these cock-fights. Now the roosters are fighting more fiercely, almost unto the death but it is not for fun anymore and it is not for a female. They don’t know what it is for anymore. But the fight must go on.”

As much as this style of working is more spontaneous than her previous work so are the colors more vibrant. There is experimenting with handling different mediums. Subjects are varied as well. She says that this change is liberating.

This exhibition is a part of her journey of becoming an artist. It is by no means an end.


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Anuj Prajapati

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