Garden of Capillaries | New York, Rockefeller Plaza | acrylic on embroidered fabric | 182.9 x 106.7 cm.
“Anju Dodiya's works don't look as if they flow out: they look as if they were wrung out.”
Meera Menezes, Art India
Anju Dodiya’s work comes loaded with poetic symbolism, cross-pollinated by references from a broad array of cultures, media and historical periods, from classical Medieval and Renaissance paintings and tapestries to Japanese Ukio-e prints, to the films of Ingmar Bergman. Her meticulous watercolors, charcoal drawings and acrylic paintings depict dream-like, mysterious scenes, in which Dodiya's is often the main protagonist, finding her way through dramatic, archetypal narratives that are sometimes whimsical, sometimes terrifying and violent.
Dodiya’s art uses masquerade and theatre as central motifs toward building her layered fictions: Elaborate costumes, masks, magicians, actors, and harlequins appear throughout her oeuvre. Occasionally, she diverges from painting, strictly speaking. For her 2007 exhibition in Baroda, “Throne of Frost,” each of the installation’s 28 double-paneled paintings were placed facing each other to form a large rectangular structure. Within this formation lay shards of glass that reflected the paintings along with the opulence of the Durbar Hall of the Lukshmi Villas Palace, where it was installed. Her 2008 solo show “All Night I Shall Gallop,” at Bodhi Art, in New York, incorporated materials like mirrors, threads, and beads—a statement about sadness, perfectionism, and artistic limitations, inspired by the poetry of Sylvia Plath.
In her relatively young career, she has had solo exhibitions in New York, Singapore, Mumbai, New Delhi and elsewhere. Meanwhile, her work has been included in group exhibitions around the world, in places like the Chicago Cultural Center; the Centre for International Modern Art in Kolkata, and the National Galleries of Modern Art, in Mumbai and New Delhi. In 2001, she was awarded the Indo-American society's “Young Achiever Award.”
Dodiya was born in Mumbai, where she graduated from the Sir J. J. School of Art in 1986. She continues to live and work in Mumbai and is married to fellow artist, Atul Dodiya.