Anju Dodiya includes aspects of self-portraiture in many of her works. The protagonists of her many meticulous watercolors, intense charcoal drawings and sumptuous acrylic paintings on upholstery and mattresses are all fictive alter-egos cast into a variety of whimsical, theatrical and sometimes violent scenarios. Masquerade and theatre are central motifs, and objects and personas from these imaginary realms: elaborate masks, costumes, magicians, actors, and harlequins: all permeate the paintings. Her compositions and imagery are drawn from a wide spectrum of sources ranging from Medieval and Renaissance painting and tapestry and Japanese ukiyo-e prints to European films and mass media images.
While Dodiya has long insisted that the work is firmly situated in the private, gender neutral realm of the artistic self, the paintings have a distinctly feminine character, a result of the simple fact that Dodiya is both woman and artist. Her embrace of watercolor, her focus on the female body, her deep interest in the decorative - both as imagery and as base, as seen in her recent works on embroidered fabric and mattresses - and her literary allusions to female protagonists of ancient myths, all link her to a previous generation of feminist artists such as Arpita Singh, Nalini Malani and Nilima Sheikh.