Mequitta Ahuja (b. 1976)
Autocartography I
acrylic, coloured pencil, oil and enamel on paper collage on vellum
8178 x 93in. (208 x 236cm.)
Executed in 2012
Thierry Goldberg, New York.
Irena Hochman Fine Art., New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2013.
London, Saatchi Gallery, Champagne Life, 2016, p. 18 (illustrated in colour, p. 16).
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Lot Essay

Included in the Saatchi Gallery’s exhibition Champagne Life in 2016, Autocartography I (2012) is an early work that captures the fundamental principles of Mequitta Ahuja’s practice. It is titled after a term coined by the artist, which describes the process of mapping out her own identity and heritage. Drawing upon her Indian, African and American roots, Ahuja’s vivid canvases combine allusions to religious iconography, folk murals, ancient illuminated manuscripts and Hindu miniature painting with flashes of self-portraiture. She teases out conversations between disparate artistic idioms, frequently working out her ideas through an extensive period of drawing, reading and observation before committing them to canvas. ‘By combining ideas sourced from outside of the Western canon with large format oil painting’, she explains, ‘I weave my complex cultural experience into the history of art.’ Based between Baltimore and Connecticut, Ahuja was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2018. She has mounted solo shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Dodd Contemporary Art Centre, Athens, and is currently featured in the group exhibition Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition at the Phillips Collection, Washington D. C.

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