Mukherjee’s familiarity with the medium was not recent, as her post-diploma in mural design under K. G. Subramanyan at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Baroda in the 1970s would have familiarized her with the technique of using clay and earth as part of her oeuvre. It was in the mid 1990s when Mukherjee started working with ceramics. At first she is known to have experimented with papier mâché during a residency at the Sanskriti Kendra in 1995, but was dissatisfied by its lackluster quality when dry. “Also present were Dutch artists Rob Birza and Bastienne Kramer, who introduced her to the immediacy of clay and the terracotta medium. In 1996, thanks to a residency at the European Ceramics Work Centre, Hertogenbosch, Holland, Mukherjee began to acquaint herself with ceramics, gradually compelling the medium to extend its own limitations. "There they don’t discourage you from doing anything," she told me in an interview in her apartment in 2013. "You may want to do the impossible; they won’t tell you not to do it, they’ll tell you how to start." (https://www.tate.org.uk/tate-etc/issue-41-autumn-2017/lives-of-the-artists-mrinalini-mukherjee-rosalyn-dmello)
Clay and terracotta are not only basic crafts of India and ancient in their origin, but they also represent human creativity in unison with nature. For Mukherjee one might say ceramics, much like for master ceramicists of the earliest times, were a radical new conduit for her to demonstrate her inventiveness to design forms that are testament to her artistic genius.
Mukherjee’s ceramic works are rare and few. Mukherjee states in an interview that it was difficult for her to continue working in ceramic mainly because "facilities were not all there" and that it was "difficult and expensive to arrange" for pieces to be fired correctly, as kilns used for pottery were not always suitable to fire ceramics (S. Ghoshal, ‘Nature as Art: Mrinalini Mukherjee’, Livemint, 8 Nov 2013). As a result, Mukherjee started working with bronze in what was to become the final phase of her career.
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