Writer-painter Amruta Patil is India’s first female graphic novelist. The blending of the timeless and the contemporary – replete with innumerable micro-subversions – is central to her textual and visual style. Patil, who thinks of herself primarily as a writer, incorporates a freewheeling mix of acrylics, collage, charcoal and watercolor in her artwork. Recurring themes include sexuality, impermanence, myths, and the unbroken thread of stories passed down from storyteller to storyteller through the ages.
Her graphic novel debut »Kari« in 2008, is a tale about friendship, love and death; its queer heroine steering through a magical-realism version of Mumbai. Considered a genre classic in graphic storytelling from the Indian subcontinent, »Kari« has also been published in French and Italian. »Adi Parva: Churning of the Ocean« (2012) and »Sauptik: Blood and Flowers« (2016) make up the Parva duology based on the Indian epic, »Mahabharata«. Patil chooses recursive fragmentation over the causal genealogy of the underlying myths, and subverts the subcontinent’s heroic/male storytelling tradition by choosing two unlikely characters to be her storytellers. The narrator of »Adi Parva« is the unsentimental river goddess Ganga (Ganges), and the teller of »Sauptik« is the wounded immortal Ashwatthama. The Parva duology is an ecological tale as much as a mythological one, with lush visuals that emphasize our lost connection with the soil, forests and the elements. »Adi Parva« was selected one of 2012’s best graphic novels by comic book historian Paul Gravett; »Sauptik« made it onto Amazon India’s Memorable Books of 2016 list.
Patil is a recipient of India’s Nari Shakti Puraskar (2016) for »unusual work that breaks boundaries« in art and literature. She is currently a writer-in-residence at La Maison des Auteurs in Angoulême, France.