Alakananda (Alka) Mukerji
Flows the Dawn
As it did for many, COVID descended on my soul like a long, dark night. There was so
much unknown; so much fear, anxiety, and confusion. Then there was the unending
solitude: the desolate disconnection — from my students and colleagues, from my
friends and family, and from life itself, or, at least, so it seemed. Everywhere, there was
the inescapable sense of loss — societal loss, cultural loss, and personal loss: a pall
that hung over everything and everyone and which, at times, no light of hope seemed
able to penetrate.
But then, after the long, dark night, a new day finally came.
If you have sat in the still and silence of the very early morning, you know that daybreak
is not really a breaking at all. Breaking implies a suddenness, as if the new day arrives
all at once. It does not. It is slower and subtler, like a gentle incoming tide. So flows
the dawn. At first, out of the darkness, there are hints of barely perceptible greys —
different tones; different shades. Then come the colors, layer upon layer, bringing
meaning and texture to the world: dim and unsure at first — almost not there — but
moment by moment, becoming more vibrant, more real, more alive.
So was the emergence from COVID.
“Flows the Dawn” captures this slow and steady resurrection, and my personal
struggles as I emerged from a night that took so long to pass. It is expressionistic; it is
darkness and light; it is touch-and-go. My work speaks with all the vocabulary of
morning. It tells of change, of reinvolvement, of new conversations. It is an invitation to
interaction. After all the apartness, interaction can no longer be denied.
Even in content and media, the scope of my work for “Flows the Dawn” is tremulous and
unsettled, featuring tapestry, printmaking, and paintings made with blended acrylics and
watercolors and oils — choosing only one form of paint seemed presumptuous and
inappropriate for the mood of the moment. The work presents itself as fluid, at times
hinting at directness, but in reality, awash in auroral subtlety and moving lightly from
form to form and emotion to emotion.
Like the diverse techniques and processes I used to create the pieces, there are many
layers and inter weavings in each: the traditional and cultural with the unorthodox and
the unexpected; the global and societal with the private and intimate; the obvious and
straight forward with the hidden and mysterious — in other words, the textures of who
and where I was and who and where I am now — tinged, of course, with the anticipation
of who and where I will be.
Conceived in despair, but ultimately born in hope, this new show, pulled together from
what was available to me, both emotionally and materially, represents the changes
which I — which all of us — have undergone during the long, dark night, and the
perseverance which has brought us all to the here-and-now, ready to stand with the
light of a new day in our eyes.