Acharya returns. The conflation of devastation among a people distant, without name or address – merges into the beloved, into a phenomenology of loss. Acharya uses elements of memory and memorialisation minimally, much like discontinuous past, in which fragments of memory linger.
How then do we view Dhruvi’s work? For all its comic book / graphic form, it is closer to the artist book, where her intention is not social action or mass circulation. Rather it is the artistic intention at the core of her practice, that beneath the apparently skewed comic worldview, there is a sense, that things do not quite feel right. In creating an emotive thought space, Dhruvi Acharya breaks with the metanarrative of Indian art enforced by many of her contemporaries. Or perhaps she arrives at it through a different route, that of the comic character, the figures outside high art, which nevertheless have license to speak out. For all its sociability, her chosen form marks unease, discomfort and sometimes outright rebellion. Acharya’s protagonists are women trying to cope, with the everyday, with body issues, expressing some of the “defeat, cynicism, despair that seem to permeate the world of the adult comic character.”
In creating an imaginative field of her own Acharya collapses history and disciplines to create distinctive language. Just as Linus van Pelt of the series Peanuts is the only one who believes in the Great Pumpkin, Acharya has created a world where thought is nameless but potent and visible. Her paintings are to be read then, like a returning series, in the language of her own making.
- Gayatri Sinha
Gayatri Sinha is a critic and curator based in New Delhi. She is also the founder director of the art media resource, www.criticalcollective.in