Antler Anthology One of Atul’s most celebrated works (and also his most personal) is Antler Anthology (2003-2004), a set of twelve large-scale works on paper that incorporates twelve Gujarati poems....
One of Atul’s most celebrated works (and also his most personal) is Antler Anthology (2003-2004), a set of twelve large-scale works on paper that incorporates twelve Gujarati poems. The artist goes back to his roots by paying homage to his favorite Gujarati poets and those poems by them that have brought him both pleasure and solace over the years. By scripting out the poems in his vernacular tongue, he forms a kind of secret code, a personal letter that he wishes to hide, at least partially, from view. Only a fraction of the artist’s audience will have access to the meanings of these poems. It is a deliberate device; to reveal and conceal at the same time. By lowering a veil, Dodiya creates an artificial layer between the viewer and the artwork. These are private thoughts, he means to tell us, sequestered somewhere in the deep recesses of memory, hidden amongst both gems and random reveries. In the fourth panel, Love Song by Harish Minashru, a simple line sketch describes his wife and partner, Anju, in the lower right corner; a translation of the poem reads “A dewy riddle/glistened/in the corner of your eye.” But the relationship between the text and the images is not always direct or obvious. The text mimics the form of ancient scripture and the images become symbolic codifications of it.
Antlers Anthology, 2004, Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda