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Dhruvi Acharya

Indian contemporary artist
Born 1971, Mumbai, India
Lives and works in New York

Dhruvi's paintings focus on the psychological and emotional aspects of an urban woman's life in a world teeming with discord, violence and pollution. She is interested in creating paintings that have a smooth physical surface but are visually and psychologically layered. The desire to understand death, deep concern for the environment, the love for Indian miniatures, comic books and contemporary street art all come together in my work.



Master of Fine Arts, Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore


Post Baccalaureate in Fine Art, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore


Applied Arts, Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai

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Her paintings display a concern for the environment

The sensitive artist's concern for the environment, her training in advertising, graphics and typography, her exposure to rich Indian miniature tradition, her love for comic books and contemporary street art all culminated into the body of work featured in her latest series entitled 'One Life on Earth'. Another significant body of acrylics and watercolours Two Plus Two Equals explored the realm of dual responsibilities and multiple commitments.

Dhruvi Acharya personally has been playing the dual roles of creative agent and mother, the citizen effortlessly inhabiting two culturally diverse cities. At another level, she continues with her image-making practice creating abstractive color-field backgrounds and communicative devices, which carry their signals only erratically. This often finds an expression in her work.She depicts in an allegoric manner the poetic moments in one's intellectual and emotional conflict with oneself exploring the concepts of solitude and loneliness, and their impact on one's psyche. They are largely based on her drawings in her sketchbook, which akin to a daily journal chronicles the changing landscapes of her emotions, thoughts, observations and experiences. The drawings are ‘stream of consciousness’, as the artist puts it.

Dhruvi Acharya, Float, 2006, synthetic polymer paint on unprimed canvas

Her works have changed after facing sudden deaths

She began painting her memories of home soon after moving to the US in 1995. She was homesick for Mumbai. Upon realizing her love for painting she decided to do my Masters - a huge learning curve. She continued to draw (pun intended) from her life experiences. Her work is an emotional diary. Dhruvi finds really hard to paint about love, as she puts it, "It is hard to paint about love without the work looking mawkishly sentimental."

She also paints an undercurrent of violence of women. Being a part of a world that is still unfair to women - from a general lack of respect in society, the teasing and molesting, to unequal pay and low priority for girls' education, to marital violence, rape, the killing of the girl child and human trafficking - women, in general, still have to live with fear even as the world is supposedly progressing.

But her life and her work have forever changed after having to face sudden death.  When asks what part of personal life has played a role in her art and life, to which she responds, "Learning to live this new life, with the constant heartache and awareness of death, is extremely difficult. Yet I am aware of how lucky I still am. I am also acutely aware of the transient nature of everything in life. I think my new work reflects this."

Dhruvi Acharya, Float, 2006, synthetic polymer paint on unprimed canvas

Her art practice involves translucent and opaque layering of paint

Dhruvi Acharya's art practice involves applying layer upon layer of translucent and opaque paint, matt and gloss medium resulting in a uniform surface where the patterns and images 'visually recede' to various levels. Her richly patterned mixed media paintings are layered with graphic style and narrative imagery in which she explores the nuances of motherhood, complex cross cultural communication, and the ambivalence present in shifting locations.

Underlining artistic influences that have shaped her art practice, critic Nancy Adajania commented in an essay: "Dhruvi Acharya's work is quilted from various sources, blurring the line between high and low art, fine art and commercial art. While the caricatural elements in her works are influenced by the Amar Chitra Katha comics she devoured in childhood, they also owe allegiance to the work of the California Graffiti artists like Lari Pittman, Margaret L Kilgallen and Barry McGee, from whom she has imbibed a worldview where the formal strategies of folk art, caricature, mural painting and votive art can be integrated into a contemporary position without hierarchy or value judgment. She demonstrates great discipline and rigor in integrating Hartigan's color-field training with her interest in caricature and graffiti art, along with her abiding interest in the miniatures and the decorative arts."

Dhruvi Acharya, Woman at 40, 2009, synthetic polymer paint on wood panel

Acharya's paintings are psychologically and visually layered

Dhruvi Acharya's narratives in psychologically and visually layered paintings draw us into a realm where thoughts are as visible as the 'reality' they inhabit. With an astute amalgamation of ancient, pop-culture and personal symbols and metaphors, she strikes a deft balance between contrasting details and patterns with uniform color fields.

Drawing mostly from her life, the artist started painting her memories attached with homeland after reaching the US in 1995. Her early creations were more drawing-based. She recorded the cozy comfort zones she had left behind. She mentions: "I am interested creating paintings that have a smooth physical surface but are visually and psychologically layered."

Dhruvi Acharya, Ear, 2010, synthetic polymer on canvas