About The Work
Atul Dodiya has passionately nurtured an interest in twentieth-century India, particularly the Indian struggle for Independence, as well as the documentation of historic figures like Mahatma Gandhi, whose humanism has had a profound impact on the artist. Being confronted daily with a barrage of stories on inequality, violence and animosity to ‘the other’ in the name of national identity and nationhood necessitates a collective introspection by the artist, through a return to history to make sense of the contemporary moment and our future – not just of the nation but also of its people. In the Indian context, the return to the origins of nationhood is also the return to its colonial past where the imagination and philosophy of the modern nation-state were born. Going back to the same moment in history, and working with archival photographs of Bapu, Dodiya focuses on the figure of Mahatma Gandhi and his forms of non-violent protest. In Welder, the figure of Gandhi is surrounded by a crowd, yet he stands apart as a force to be reckoned with as his singular ideology and performative political actions indelibly influenced the future of the nation.
Widely considered one of India’s most significant artists, Atul Dodiya was trained in Mumbai at the Sir J.J. School of Art, 1982, and École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1991–92. Dodiya became known in the nineties for his hyperrealist paintings depicting middle-class Indian life and for his watercolour and oil series on Mahatma Gandhi. His narratives are populated by diverse traditions in painting, the written word, images from the media, saints and legends, national history, political events, traumata and autobiographical narratives. His allegorical paintings on canvas or metal roller shutters and watercolours are considered either aggressive or poetic.
Atul Dodiya has had more than 30 solo shows in India and abroad, which include a mid-career retrospective at the Japan Foundation Asia Centre, Tokyo, in 2001; a solo show in the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, in 2002, and the Contemporary Arts Centre, Cincinnati, USA, in 2013; a major survey show at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, in 2013. He participated in the 1st Yokohoma Triennale, 2001, the 51st Venice Biennale, 2005, Documenta12, 2007, the 7th Gwangju Biennale, 2008, the 3rd Moscow Biennale, 2009, the Biennale Jogja XI, 2011, the 7th Asia Pacific Triennale, Brisbane, 2012, and the 1st Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India, 2012.
A major monograph on Atul Dodiya, published by Prestel Verlag and Vadehra Art Gallery, was released in January 2014.
The artist lives and works in Mumbai, India.
Vadehra Art Gallery (VAG) has been promoting modern and contemporary Indian art through exhibitions, retrospectives and publications since 1987. VAG has a long-standing association with the first modernists of Indian art, namely MF Husain, Ram Kumar, Krishen Khanna, Tyeb Mehta, and other senior artists like Arpita Singh, Rameshwar Broota, and Bhupen Khakkar. VAG’s artists roster includes mid-career artists such as Atul and Anju Dodiya, NS Harsha, Riyas Komu, Nalini Malani and Shilpa Gupta, as well as a select group of emerging practitioners. In 2007 the gallery expanded its exhibitions programme to include important exhibitions of international contemporary artists. VAG actively collaborates with prominent institutions like the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) and the private Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA). VAG has also collaborated with and supported exhibitions in international museums such as the Serpentine Gallery and Guggenheim Museum, among others.