"Ahuja carves out a niche somewhere between the past and the present in a composite of fictionalized cave art and contemporary self-portrait.” Sarah Wade
A variation of the term coined by author Audre Lorde, I refer to my work and process as “Automythography.” I define Automythography as a constructive process of identity formation in which nature, culture and self-invention merge. Proposing art as a primary method of this process, my works demonstrate female self-invention and self-representation through the deployment of her own tools
I develop my figure through three steps: performance, photography and drawing. I begin with solo performances in front of the camera, positioning myself as agent of my own depiction. I document these performances using a remote shutter control and use the resulting photographs as non-fictional source material. Through my preparatory drawing process, I establish the invented elements of my work. The resulting self-portraits embody a form of creative self-sufficiency.
My figure traverses invented landscapes. Whether she is present or absent, the environments I paint are her domain. As an African American and South Asian American woman, my works embody a culturally complex position. I work from the vantage point of both Western and Eastern depiction, ancient and contemporary. To build the dense imagery suited to my visual and conceptual concerns, I work across artistic histories and categories, combining patterning, pictorial flatness and saturated color with large scale painting and self-portraiture. My imagery harkens to the past, mythic and ancestral but never finds its direct referent.
I view painting and drawing as a cumulative process of time and marks. Whether using crayon, brush, palette knife, collage or printing block, I build form and surface through the accumulation of lines and strokes. The physicality of my technique is mirrored by my female protagonist’s assertive presence. She is both subject and maker of her world.
Statements by series...