It was a masterclass into the hydra-headed landscape of an incredible mind as Atul Dodiya talked of all the colliding influences that shape his work: the family’s roots in Porbandar that was the source of his abiding interest in Gandhi; letters from his father; his mother’s love for Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor and Talat Mahmood; his years in Paris as a student at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and the work of painters across a breathtaking spectrum, from Nainsukh to Picasso to Hockney and Mondrian.
“Gandhi dealt with concepts – ideas such as nonviolence and truth and self-awareness – which is the root of my fascination with him. I call him the first ever conceptual artist,” he said. But it was when a member of the audience asked how one could develop a more informed aesthetic that Atul gave us probably his most illuminating advice of the night.
“I am an artist not because I draw well. I am an artist because I see well. A singer isn’t great because he’s got a good voice. It’s because he’s got a great ear.”
Algebra, the Arts & Ideas Club brings together a fellowship of people who believe great cities are built not just on infrastructure but a life of the mind; who understand robust and liberal societies need the oxygen of great conversation and nuanced thinking.
At a time when we are increasingly surrounded by rage and noise, Algebra is a live and continuous space for people to come together for a genuine exchange of ideas and exposure to issues; where new seeds could be sparked, fresh perspectives formed, and intelligent connections made.
Algebra – the Arts and Ideas Club is designed to host almost 35 engagements over the year with topline thinkers and practitioners from almost every discipline that impacts human affairs: politics, economy, environment, spirituality, cinema, medicine, science, technology, music, media, literature, the arts, sports, people’s movements, et al.