Photo © Rohit Chawla
Amruta Patil (born 19 April 1979), writer and painter, is the author of graphic novels Kari (2008), the Parva duology – Adi Parva: Churning of the Ocean (2012) and Sauptik: Blood and Flowers (2016) – and Aranyaka: Book of the Forest (tbr September 2019). Kari is a tale about friendship, love and death; its eponymous queer heroine steers through Smog City, a magic-realism version of Mumbai. Adi Parva is based on the Mahabharat, the Puraans and the tradition of oral storytellers and its sutradhaar is the river goddess Ganga. It was selected as one of 2012’s best graphic novels by comic book historian, Paul Gravett.
After Adi Parva, Patil returned with more revisionist retelling of epic lore: in Sauptik, the Kurukshetra war is long over; Ashwatthama, warrior with the unhealing wound, looks upon the worlds he once knew. The narrative, with lush and playful visuals, is an ecological tale as much as it is a mythological one – emphasizing our forgotten connection with the elements, rivers, forests and soil. Sauptik was one of Amazon India’s Memorable Books of 2016. Her most recent graphic novel Aranyaka, a collaborative work made with mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik, is scheduled for a September 2019 release.
Patil has a freewheeling visual style that incorporates acrylic painting, collage, watercolour and charcoal. Recurring themes in her work include memento mori, sexuality, myth, sustainable living, and the unbroken thread of stories passed down from storyteller to storyteller through the ages.
In March 2017, Amruta Patil received a Nari Shakti Puraskar from the 13th President of India Pranab Mukherjee for “unusual work that breaks boundaries” in art and literature.
WATCH! Video recording of ‘Blood and Flowers’, Amruta Patil’s solo session at Jaipur Literature Festival 2017.
INTERVIEW feature in Verve Magazine (December 2018) about Amruta Patil’s life and work.