Anju Dodiya was born in Mumbai and graduated with a Diploma in Fine Arts from Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai in 1986. She is renowned for her ‘fictional self-portraits’ that explore the conflict between the inner self and external reality. Her works, often auto-biographical in nature, give the viewer a glimpse into the life of the protagonist and reveal a process of self-discovery and introspection.
A dedicated watercolourist, Anju Dodiya often experiments with different mediums and textures. Layering her paintings with symbolism, she draws inspiration from artists such as poet, Sylvia Plath, film maker Ingmar Bergman as well as Early Renaissance masters like Piero della Francesca and Giotto.
She has expanded her visual vocabulary over the decades and experimented with multi-media and site-specific installations. In 2005, Dodiya was commissioned to depict the marriage of Shiva and Parvati, a work she realized on a double-bed installed upright on a wall. She has been using mattresses and cotton linings of beds and sofas as recurrent materials in her work since then.
The painted textures provide a compelling avenue to investigate the nocturnal intimacy that accompanies sleep and dreams. When asked about the difference between working with paper and the mattress she said: “I realised that with the mattress there are textures that I have to interact with. My painting process became more carefree. And there was a novel pleasure in working with textures and playing with its bulges.’’
Her most recent solo exhibition from April 2021 called ‘Tower of Slowness’ at Galerie Templon in Brussels featured an installation of ‘’mattresses’’ against the gallery walls and showcased a series of enigmatic portraits combined with animal skin motifs.
Anju Dodiya has participated in multiple group shows and had solo exhibitions at various prestigious galleries such as Gallery Chemould, Mumbai in 1991, 1996, and 1999; Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai, 1999, and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2001 to name a few.