‘Passing Spirits’ Papier-Mâché Sculptures by Denjongpa at Northern Essex Community College

Forest dancer, 2023, bark, papier mache, acrylic paint. (Courtesy photograph.)

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Work by Beverly artist Maria L. Denjongpa is on display in the Linda Hummel-Shea ArtSpace on the Haverhill Campus of Northern Essex Community College.

Denjongpa’s “Passing Spirits” showcases her papier mache sculptures. She began making masks, puppets and sculptures when she was 13. After graduating from college with a degree in Anthropology, she married a man from the Eastern Himalayas and went there to live and teach. Her work is inspired by Sikkimese spirit houses, monastic murals, bodhisattva masks and being in the classroom with children.

“I am interested in spirits—meaning the terrors, joys, grief, pride and surprises—that reside in the human heart. I am curious about their essence: their gestures, colors and shapes,” she says. Adding, “My art is not cerebral. It arrives from turning off thinking so that whatever is hidden in the branches of trees or the corners of a room can find its natural form.”

Passing Spirits is open through Feb. 29 on the first floor of the college’s Bentley Library and open to the public. An opening reception and artist talk is planned for today at 3 p.m. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.- 8 p.m., and Fridays, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.

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