There’s a lot artist Anju Dodiya is trying to say through her ongoing exhibition, Room For Erasures, at Chemould Prescott Road gallery. If you look closely at her paintings — largely in watercolour — and digital prints, says Dodiya, you’ll see stories that are deeply personal yet universal enough for everyone to identify with.
“I have tried to bring forth the obsessive nature of the creative process in the Room For Erasures. The paintings are passionate while the digital prints could be labelled cool, even calm. I have designed them in a way which renders them almost photographic elements, or, to be more precise, autobiographical elements,” says Dodiya.
Room For Erasures, says Dodiya, explores her own feelings on the idea of passing time and the changes they naturally bring out in their wake, much like, say, the shedding of skin. “For Room For Erasures, I created art out of experiences and walks of life. Art is a personal need, a way to connect with others. For me, it is much like writing a private diary, which somewhere wants to reach out.”
That, however, she adds, does not mean she is constantly conscious or daunted by the number of people who will come forward to demystify her personal experiences. “I don’t worry or wonder about how many people will come to view to my work, or what each one of them will think — I am my first viewer. I think one is aware that there is a ‘world’ out there, but that isn’t a point of concern for me.” Then, what is? “I think it would have to be the formal aspect of creating art, the creative process,” says Dodiya after some thought.
An interesting part of Room For Erasures is a set of three pencil drawings Dodiya has created for the viewers to erase. “It is the collaborative aspect of my work — it will be interesting to see the greys, smudges, whites and what’s left of the paintings in the end.” For Dodiya, this exercise is partly a “psychological game”. “You never know how someone will choose to transform these drawings. Some, for instance, take it as a game and have fun with it, while others feel intimidated to ‘destroy a work of art’. All I want to do is to establish an emotional temperature and see what people do with it.”