Snowflakes on my Shoulder – A Vernon Journal
Ela Mukherjee has a fascinating story to tell and we hope you stop by to peruse her art, and maybe even take a piece home with you. Ela came to Vernon for an artist residency in January of this year, however, Covid-19 abruptly ended her program and forced her back to India sooner than expected. Her art however, lives here.
Ela would spend her days here at the Arts Centre, chronicling her experiences in Vernon through her ceramic art, and teaching classes to adults and children. She was a delight to have around the studio, and everyone was intrigued by her body of work.
The work is a record of Ela’s journey while residing in Vernon, and each unique has a story to tell. It portrays a transition from winter to the onset of spring, and ranges from stark geometry in monochrome to a wider color palette and more fluidity with the changing season. The reflections are not narrative in nature but worked as reference points for her work.
The series is dedicated to the City of Vernon and Ela would like the pieces to stay with the people here. It was her wish to return to her home country of India, with only her memories and experiences in hand. Her legacy is left behind in the city among the people where Ela feels the work belongs.
Ela’s residency was cut short when a world pandemic was announced. She tried to stay for as long as possible so she could finish what she started, but eventually, she had to make the decision to return home. She flew out of Kelowna expecting to see her family within a day, however, the airlines stopped moving and she was stranded in Toronto for two months. As you can imagine, these two months were very difficult. A go-fund-me account was eventually set up to support Ela, and thanks to the generosity of strangers, Ela was able to gather the funds to purchase a flight back to India when flights became available. It would still be weeks until she could hug her family again, as quarantine became yet another part of the ordeal when she touched down on Indian soil.
Her journey has been an epic one, yet Ela remains humble, grateful, and safe. It saddens us that Ela won’t be here to see her own art exhibit, or even touch her last few pieces that hadn’t yet been sent to the kiln for firing. But we’re doing our part to honour her journey, and all that she has given to the City of Vernon.
** CeramAIR is a residency program partnership between Caetani Cultural Centre, the Arts Council of the North Okanagan and the Vernon Community Arts Centre.