Over two decades artist Anju Dodiya has dreamed into being a series of couples overcome by desire
I surprised myself, looking back over the last twenty years, to find that I have created an inventory of lovers. There are couples, murderous, intently in love. There are others, more distracted, multi-tasking lovers, living the busy city life. Posing questions… If two heads lay side by side on Albrecht Dürer’s pillows in 1493, would they love more gently? Is love ever gentle?
It is often a pageant of torn clouds, gathering in a storm.
On a yellow summer day when love doesn’t speak, little birds will teach it new words, like in the fable of the mute. In the nocturnal heat of the artist’s studio, Japanese lovers wrestle in fabulous copulation in the 19th-century Ukiyo-e prints.
And then there is Penelope. In her black and white dreams, the elegant embrace of an Antonioni film goes on, in a non-stop loop. She waits and weaves, she unravels and waits, while her Ulysses wanders the world.
But elegance is not what love seeks. Lovers make do with the rough stumble of what the day or night brings. There is no strategy.
I stand by in a time shell and watch.
This essay was published in the Oct-Dec ’17 issue of The Indian Quarterly. This issue marked 5th anniversary of the magazine, and is based on the theme “Love”.