Cheryl Mukherji is a visual artist and writer currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Born and raised in India, she is currently an MFA candidate in Advanced Photographic Studies at the Internationational Center of Photography-Bard College, New York. Cheryl’s current work explores my relationship with my mother, who lives in India, and her presence in the family album through the lens of personal history, transgenerational trauma, and inheritance. She works with mediums such as photography, text, printmaking, video, embroidery.
Working primarily with family albums that I brought along when I moved to the United States, I engage with my mother’s presence within it through many years and different stages of her life. Family albums—a primary instrument of self-knowledge and representation—traditionally celebrate success, leaving out the depiction of tragedy, trauma, and mourning in the family life. In this work, I recollect memories of my last day at home with my mother before moving to New York. It was the day my mother, overcome by a manic episode and overwhelmed by her loneliness, harmed herself. Using screenprinting, I repeat my mother’s image from these albums onto prints and layer them with her personal history and my own with the use of text. Through this uncanny juxtaposition, trauma becomes representative of her identity as much as the happy moments do.