The Poignant But Ambiguous Commentary Of Atul Dodiya's Art

Dodiya often Roy Lichtenstein's pop art style to talk about women's issues, perhaps as a critique on how lightly they are taken

Updated: Aug 23, 2019 12:45:52 IST
2019-08-23T12:45:52+05:30
The Poignant But Ambiguous Commentary Of Atul Dodiya's Art Nirbhay, by Atul Dodiya, Exterior: Enamel paint on motorized metal roller shutter with iron hooks and brass letters, 108 x 72 in; Interior: Oil and acrylic on canvas, 87 x 61.5 in; 2012–2013 (Courtesy: Atul Dodiya)

Several of Atul Dodiya’s iconic works have been inspired by traumatic events that have chequered India’s social fabric. For instance, during the 1993 Bombay riots, Dodiya witnessed the otherwise bustling small businesses of the city come to a standstill fearing violence from religious fanatics. The rolled-down shutter, which indicates a shop is closed, found its way into Dodiya’s visual vocabulary. Many of these works enmesh politics—past and present—and references from art history to create a poignant but ambiguous commentary. In the installation above, the closed shutter depicts a young Gandhi and the thinkers who inspired him—Leo Tolstoy, John Ruskin, Shrimad Rajchandra and Gopal Krishna Gokhale. When you roll up the shutter, you are confronted with a personification of a teardrop inspired by Roy Lichtenstein. What’s telltale is the title ‘Nirbhay’ and the date inscribed on the shutter—the day a young girl was brutally raped on a moving bus in Delhi. Dodiya often uses Lichtenstein’s pop art style to talk about women’s issues, perhaps as a critique on how lightly they are taken.

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