‘Freedoms are not given, you have to snatch them’

By Vandana Kalra | The Indian Express

Known to engage with the sociopolitical environment and art history in his works, artist Atul Dodiya turns to the western masters once again in the exhibition titled ‘Stammer in the Shade’. On at Vadehra art Gallery in Delhi, it features an ensemble of paintings, cut-outs and photographs that come together to form a ‘shrine’. Dodiya, 61, talks about his inspirations and the need to experiment. Excerpts:


Could you talk about your longstanding association with the masters.


The first oil painting I did, when I was in 10th standard, was a self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh. I had it seen in a book. I have always felt that one’s own art is important but so much great art has happened in the past, from pre-Renaissance to modern times, not just in Europe but also Asia, and it is important to learn from that. When I was at Sir JJ School of Art, I was told by some of my friends that one of my main problems was that I was seeing too much of other people’s work. They said, if you do that then there is an influence on your work and that’s not a good thing. But I feel if I don’t see, how will I know what have others done. Akbar Padamsee told me that art comes from art, art doesn’t come from life.

26 February 2020