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Art Therapy

Artist Dhruvi Acharya Paints ‘Life Under Lockdown’

Popular for her distinct and unconventional paintings, Artist Dhruvi Acharya has been using her lockdown-time to paint the psychological, social and physical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dhruvi Acharya's latest paintings are a courageous attempt to address issues unique to the lockdown such as loneliness, fear of touching anyone or anything, social distancing, fear of the disease, plight of the daily wage etc.

Picture Courtesy: Dhruvi Acharya

“The lockdown in India to fight the pandemic caused by the Coronavirus has been stressful for me as it must be for most people – besides the constant vigilance against contracting the virus, on the personal front there are disrupted routines, kids at home, little or no domestic help, isolation, worrying about lonely and ageing parents. And then we get the daily news of lost jobs, the plight day wage labourers in India, people getting no access to food for days, the great but suddenly very dangerous jobs being done by healthcare workers, stories of death and illness around the world, all of which are all the more disturbing.

So, on  the day of the Junta curfew, I went to my studio, which is another apartment in my residential building and decided to just paint about whatever was on my mind – which I guess, for the privileged among us, is the Coronavirus (versus hunger, poverty, illness and death for many).”, explained Dhruvi.

Picture Courtesy: Dhruvi Acharya

Dhruvi's work has always been like a visual diary where she draws her experiences, thinking through things, and tries to get a better understanding of the world. In her paintings, human forms morph to match their mental state, and comic book inspired empty thought and speech bubbles convey ineffable emotions. Her work shares both, psychologically and visually layered, and often has a dark humour.

Picture Courtesy: Dhruvi Acharya

"We do not know when we will see light at the end of this long tunnel, which in India, we are just entering. But I think we humans are realizing how connected we all are, that we all will have to work together to combat this virus, else it can become a very long drawn out war.

When we do come out on the other side- when we have a vaccine and build immunity to this virus, my hope is that we humans will change our ways. I hope we all understand we need to reset our priorities as humans and put health, family, the lives of other creatures, nature, science and education above weapons, war, religious fanaticism, mindless development or rather, destruction and production of useless objects. And I hope we will pay heed to scientists’ warnings about the impending and extreme impact of climate change that will affect all of humanity and learn to respect and value our environment and all living things on earth. If not, I fear humans will live and die in a constant cycle of disasters in different parts of the world. This virus can be seen as a wake up call, and I hope we and our world leaders realize we are all connected and that we are all in this together.", added Dhruvi.

Picture Courtesy: Dhruvi Acharya

About the Artist: Dhruvi Acharya

Dhruvi Acharya’s work focuses on the psychological and emotional aspects of an urban woman’s life in a world teeming with discord, violence and pollution. Employing a subtle, dark and wry humour, the work draws viewers into a world where thoughts are as visible as “reality”, and where the protagonists live and metamorphose by the logic of that world.

Acharya received her Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, USA in 1998, and completed her Post Baccalaureate in 1996 from the same college. She was awarded the Aditya Vikram Birla Kala Kiran Puraskar in 2006, featured on the cover of India Today in 2005 and was recipient of the FICCI Young Woman Achievers award in 2013.

Acharya began exhibiting her works professionally in 1998 in the USA where she spent 10 years. She has held solo exhibitions with Chemould Prescott Road in Mumbai, Nature Morte in New Delhi and Kravets/Wehby in New York. Her major projects include a 32-foot mural for JSW in Mumbai, a 16-foot work for the Mumbai Airport and a “painting as performance” project in New Delhi. Her selected participations include shows at the San Jose Museum of Art in San Jose, Chatrapati Shivaji Museum in Mumbai, Griffith University in Brisbane, Spazio Oberdan in Milan, Webster University in St Louis, BosePacia Modern in New York, National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai and the Queens Museum of Art in New York.

The artist lives and works in Mumbai.

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