Dhruvi Acharya paints the fear of pandemic

Dhruvi Acharya paints the fear of pandemic


Monica Arora

Dhruvi Acharya’s paintings and watercolours are an intrinsic and in-depth commentary on her experiences and emotions drawn from life itself. As part of her exhibition, ‘Evaporating Voices’, she created nine works on paper during the lockdown, and these are being showcased online by Nature Morte art gallery in Delhi.

These were created as the artist’s reaction to the “lockdown” endured by people all over the world after being struck by the epidemic. As the Mumbai-based artist says, “The paintings were made in July, when both my home and studio (both in the same building) were sealed due to Covid. I set up a work area in my living room from where I could see the constant stream of trucks dumping rocks in the Arabian Sea to build the coastal road, obliterating the original coast and preparing the ground for more floods. I made these works thinking not only about life and death that humans are enduring due to the virus, but also about the crisis our planet is in — sinking cities, fires, destruction and extinction of animals. My work also reflects social isolation and the silencing of dissenting voices.”

Dhruvi quintessentially dwells on femininity and women protagonists whose angst, pathos, struggles, apprehensions and turbulence are brought alive in her creations. The current work is exuberant with robust colour palettes amidst grey, misty backdrops. The artist makes an interesting contrast of sorts between the melancholy and restlessness brought about as a result of isolation during the pandemic. And yet, with activity resuming, there is a burst of hope.

Entitled ‘Lockdown’, ‘Burble’ and ‘Exhaust’, three artworks resonate the social distancing dichotomy and sheer exhaustion brought about in society. ‘Last Rites’ and ‘Blessings’ seem to refer to the gloomy pall of death hanging like a shroud of fear of contracting the virus. Other creations feature women wearing masks or simply breathing through their mouths as a result of the health mandates being endured by all and the suffocation it entails.

Inspired by “miniature art, graffiti art, and comic books”, Dhruvi’s body of work is refreshing despite the heavy undertone of the side effects of this unusual time on mental and physical wellbeing.

On how has the pandemic affected the art scenario, she says, “Reduced funding, travel restrictions and other logistical issues could possibly lead to a permanent reduction in the number of art fairs and biennales. But at the same time, there has been an increase in free events, discussions and art exhibitions in the virtual space. Also, just as museums are making their collection more accessible online, contemporary galleries also have an opportunity to make art more accessible to those who say they don’t understand it.”


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