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Going beyond 'just pottery'

When a Professor decides to hang up her boots and probe hidden embers of firing and glazes and clay constructions – it becomes more than a mere pilgrim's journey.

Manjari Sharma's affair with stoneware began more than 15 years ago when exploring clay meant going beyond pots and bowls and platters – exploring clay meant an embodiment of the gestural spontaneity and visual momentum of abstraction as well as gauging degrees of expressionism along with the dramatic Shakespearean – like acceptance of imperfections that characterizes the creation of sculptural pottery in all its manifestations.

Manjari works with a personal structural vocabulary which she pours overthrown shapes including cylinders, bowls, plates, clay slabs, and whatever forms her hand or mallet could pierce, press, pinch or paddle. Pottery is not only bowls and pots and platters, pottery is a journey that enfolds and explores and experiments with forms and glazes and textures and expression. Manjari moves a step ahead with human expressions that are full of drama and deep intensity. Her lamps with quirky lips are delightful, her bowls with human hands are truly sculptural, her jars with lids that have fingers are a statement in the power of human emotions.

"A very noticeable outcome of my journey within was a loss of fear and hence the ability to play more. In the celebration of the "human experience", I found greater acceptability of the good with the bad or the pretty with the ugly. I realized that everything is contextual. There are no absolute truths. In fact, I feel that perfection and beauty are fairly violent concepts they are so non-inclusive," says sculptor Manjari Sharma.

Curator Uma Nair who has followed her works for 20 years says,"Manjari doesn't merely throw pots, she builds and fashions them. Indeed, she uses a potter's wheel on which to spin the initial clay forms; but after that first rudimentary step the traditional method of wheel-thrown pottery is dramatically overturned."

The show which opened on April 16, will run till April 23 at Lalit Kala Akademi, Rabindra Bhavan.

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