Atul Dodiya's allegorical collages fuse fragments of art historical masterpieces with moments of Pop Culture, current events and his own autobiography. Regarded as one of the leading artists of his generation, Dodiya has become a widely recognized figurehead in contemporary art influencing many of the country's burgeoning younger artists. Born in and still residing in Mumbai, the culture and history of India plays an important role in shaping the barrage of images which inform his works. Beginning his career with a straightforward and cleverly deadpan realist style, Dodiya moved away from the literal in the mid-90s towards the fragmented and multilayered techniques which now dominate his oeuvre. Immensely conscious of history, his works reflect his impressive knowledge about both current events and ancient religions and he quotes freely from the recesses of both Western and Indian art traditions. Capitalizing on the Post-Modern tendency towards ironic juxtaposition, Dodiya manages to use the vocabulary of Western contemporary art in creating a unique and potent pictorial language. According to art historian Thomas McEvilley, "even as [Dodiya's] work attempts to bring Indian art into a closer embrace with Western Post-Modernist art, he also wants to bring contemporary Indian art closer to its Hindu roots, through re-adjustment and reproaches to cultural and mythological figures such as Gandhi, Siva and Kali."
- Atul Dodiya: Cracks in Mondrian, Bose Pacia Modern, New York, 3 March - 16 April 2005.
Created soon after the United States declared war on Afghanistan, this painting by Dodiya comments on the suffering and devastation borne by the common Afghan during the time. The stylized figure in this work reminds us of the medieval scribe from his Tearscape series who warns us of our actions, good or bad, and their eventual interpretation in history. While commenting on these works Dodiya said, "I had been watching the images on this 'War against Terror' on television and in newspapers. I could not help contrasting the blank faces of the Afghanis, the desolate desert-like landscape and the mud homes with those huge twin towers. The idea of home began to preoccupy me. I thought of a man of bones with just a covering skin squatting under a Kabul sky or a woman with wooden legs sitting on landmines. The upholstery material, with a constant design, was used as a canvas for all the works. I think of it like a metaphor for the earth, having its own patterns and indifferent to the images painted on it. Finally, the only one who suffers is the common man/woman, caught in the crossfire of others' making."
-Atul Dodiya, Real in Realism, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2002