Lockdown is the best excuse to be a recluse: Artist Atul Dodiya talks quarantine habits

Atul Dodiya opens up about his quarantine pastimes
Atul Dodiya opens up about his quarantine pastimes
Atul Dodiya opens up about his quarantine pastimes

Celebrated Indian artist Atul Dodiya is making the most of his quarantine just like the rest of us. Dodiya, who’s perhaps the most sought after contemporary artists in the country today, believes that the lockdown is the best excuse to be a recluse. For the recent edition of the Indulge Time Pass webinar — which engages some of the best minds of the country to help us keep up with the new normal- the artist tells host Kaveree Bamzai that for the first two and a half months of the quarantine, he focused on spending time with his family and re-watching some cinematic masterpieces made by Andrei Tarkovsy, Michelangelo Antonioni and Francois Truffaut. 

Incidentally, the artist’s wife Anju Dodiya is an acclaimed abstract artist, and their daughter Biraaj, just showcased her debut solo show in Kolkata earlier this year. Dodiya reveals that he enjoys the current lack of professional commitments to galleries and has just started going back to his studio to work in solace. The artist tells Bamzai that the pastoral quality in his work has always been about unraveling the sense of solitariness which we are all experiencing now. “Most of my work has been about a solitary figure looking out at a cloud, sky or mountains. Nature is always changing, I have found a freedom in depicting that aspect of nature. Somehow it also talks about us being stuck, like we all are confined to our homes now, how we see the world through a window. I have been a great admirer of Indian miniature paintings and pre-Renaissance masters, so my work has always been somewhat pastoral, they don’t look very contemporary,” said Dodiya. 

Dodiya and Bamzai also talked about how art can never be divorced from society, and Dodiya was asked if the global crisis will bring about a change in means of individual expression. “Everyone is equal in this context because everyone is quite scared, but this time is also about introspection. You can’t go out, you can’t do your daily duties, you have to stay in, I think each person is experiencing a unique thing internally. Then again, tomorrow if there’s a vaccine things may get back to normal, so it’s difficult to predict at this point, what may happen in the coming days,” he remarked.

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