Artist Atul Dodiya, who currently has exhibits at India Art Fair 2022, talks about art in an interview with Firstpost
Artist Atul Dodiya and his artwork
Atul Dodiya is an Indian artist of significant fame who has created a well-deserved space for himself on the crowded contemporary art scene. He is best known for his paintings depicting middle-class Indian life and his watercolor and oil series about Mahatma Gandhi. He is currently making waves at the India Art Fair (IAF) 2022 with his solo show at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) called Walking with the Waves – a subtle departure from his previous works – and works of art exhibited at the group exhibition. at the Vadehra Art Gallery stand. The stand-alone show is a selection of more than 365 intimate works, which he painted throughout the year with frequent lockouts due to the subsequent Covid-19 waves. This mammoth project was his attempt to maintain his own common sense and artistic balance by addressing the concept of loneliness. In addition, he is to be the first Indian artist to take part in the prestigious BMW Art Talk at the IAF, which will take place on Saturday 30 April, where he will speak with his longtime girlfriend and gallery owner Shireen Gandhy of Chemould Prescott Road Gallery on his exciting journey as an artist. He joins Firstpost to talk quickly about the IAF and its work.
Excerpts from the interview:
How do you feel that an art fair is finally taking place in India after a long break?
I’m very happy about it and I really enjoy having fun with people and art again. Some people grumble, but I don’t care, it doesn’t bother me! It’s exciting for me to see so many people and artists together at great events over the ages.
What are your expectations from the audience this time?
Ans: I don’t have expectations as such because I know what to expect when it comes to audience reactions. What people see and do not see in a work of art is different, as are their reactions to that work of art. Their reaction is not something that worries me – it only concerns the creation of a work of art. However, in the last 4-5 years I have noticed that the viewership is growing. Lots of new people are coming, including new collectors, new connoisseurs, the younger generation and younger collectors are now more visible. Many young people are involved in the visual arts, which I think is very important.
You have an interview with your girlfriend and gallery owner Shireen Gandhi. What can viewers expect from this unique interaction?
It will be fun because we are very close friends. We started together in 1989, when we had our first concerts together. So there is a lot of giving and taking between us. My close friends are also her close friends. We met a lot of people and these people contributed to my way of thinking and working. But talking will certainly be interesting as I talk about my diverse path in the arts over the years.
You have a solo show at KNMA and you are also part of a group exhibiting at the Vadehra Art Gallery. How does the nature of the exhibited work affect people’s reactions to your art?
When a special exhibition takes place in a museum or gallery, this exhibition is exclusive and attracts all the attention. But when it comes to an art fair, people move from one booth to another in a hurry. This is how art fairs have always been conceived. Galleryists try to bring harmony through curation, but I have noticed that all international art fairs take it for granted to sell art. Once a work is sold, it is removed and replaced with another. At first I was a little clumsy about it all, but then I realized it was so. So I’m not stressed now about how my work is portrayed. Generally speaking, my galleries suit all exhibited works.
Your solo show at KNMA is highly personal. Was it a cathartic process for you to portray your feelings during the lock-up?
Yes, this project was actually created. I couldn’t go anywhere during the lock – I didn’t hear traffic noise or other noise from home. Because I knew I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere, I started working at home and had 35 paintings in a month. However, I realized that these were very simple paintings. They consisted only of contemporary, lonely, lonely characters – just depictions of human beings doing nothing. It was as simple as watching a cloud. The simplicity of the artwork made me feel like I was going back in time in my art, but I painted intuitively and I knew intuitively that there was something special about this series. During this period of dilemma, I decided not to share these images with anyone. I felt it was something very kind, personal and clean. I didn’t want to be distracted or disturbed by anyone with a stray negative comment, so I didn’t share them with anyone, and then I had 60 paintings in two months and 90 in three months! I told myself that I would continue to paint because I didn’t have to justify my work to anyone at the end of the day. Sometimes I felt that the work was slightly repetitive, so I tried to change the paper or change the way the painting shone individually.
Question: What would you like to say to the audience who visits the India Art Fair?
Ans: I feel that everyone should be associated with art. It is a medium that gives you a tremendous amount of joy. It’s not just fun; it is pure joy.
Noor Anand Chawla writes lifestyle articles for various publications and his blog www.nooranandchawla.com. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.