The Last Time

The Last Time is an exploration of my origin and inheritance, which is embedded in the figure of my mother. It deals with memory, mental illness, transgenerational trauma, and how they inform identity using mediums such as photography, text, printmaking, and embroidery. My work functions as a counter-archive that seeks to repair histories of trauma, articulating possibilities for pleasure under conditions of abjection.

In this project, I examine and engage with my mother’s presence in my family albums. Family albums—a primary instrument of self-knowledge and representation—traditionally celebrate success, leaving out depictions of tragedy and mourning from family life. I recollect memories of my last day at home with my mother before moving to New York more than two years ago when she, overcome by mania, self-harmed in front of me. Through the uncanny juxtaposition of photographs from my mother’s life and writing, the project brings forth the complications of a mother-daughter relationship, while the use of time, repetition, and revision becomes a way of forgetting and healing.

In the family photographs, I find a resemblance between my looks and my mother’s. This physical resemblance feels synonymous with fate–if I already look like her, then I must become her–making her body a home both lost and never lost.

Cheryl Mukherji

Cheryl Mukherji (b. 1995, India) is a visual artist and writer currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with an MFA in Advanced Photographic Studies from the International Center of Photography-Bard College, New York in 2020. Cheryl has been a recipient of the ICP Director’s Fellowship for the years 2018- 2020.

In her current work, Cheryl explores the idea of origin and inheritance, which is embedded in the figure of her mother and her presence in the family album. It deals with memory, personal history, transgenerational trauma, and how they inform identity. Cheryl primarily works with photography, text, and video. Cheryl has been the recent recipient of Capture Photography Festival’s Writing Prize, Brooklyn Museum’s #Your2020Portrait award, South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund (SAARF), Firecracker Photography Grant, and was nominated for the inaugural Next Step Award by Aperture Foundation and Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York. Her work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, NY, Museum of Moving Image, NY, International Center of Photography, NY, Serendipity Arts Festival, India.