Our latest Artists You Need To know are The Singh Twins (twin sisters Amrit Singh MBE and Rabindra Kaur Singh MBE). The sisters are British artists who work collaboratively on all their pieces, in a variety of media. Their evocative, very detailed and very lively works incorporate both traditional Indian (in particular, Sikh) tradition, Western medieval illuminated manuscripts and contemporary Western culture, especially pop culture references. Several of their works also have a political edge, offering amusing but also insightful commentary.
The Singh Twins are delightfully unique artists: producing work that is innately Briish, with references and motifs that speak to contemporary life in the United Kingdom, they’ve also spurred a revival of the ancient Indian miniature tradition within modern art practice. In 2010, they each received an MBE for Services to the Indian Miniature Tradition of Painting in Contemporary Art in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Since 1987, The Singh Twins have exhibited their works around the world, including the following notable examples: The National Gallery, London, UK, The National Portrait Gallery, London, UK, The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK, The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, USA, The Royal Museums, Edinburgh, UK, The Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, UK, McMaster Art Museum, Hamilton, Canada and The National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai and New Delhi. The last is especially noteworthy, as, at that time, they were the first British artists since Henry Moore to have an exhibition in those spaces.
Amrit and Rabindra Kaur Singh are as eloquent about their ideas as they are skilled in the execution of the detailed works: “There is no such thing as ‘Englishness’ or ‘Indianness’. There’s always been a crossover of ideas and culture, across the globe I think art plays a huge role, it’s always been a medium that is accessible. [It] can be entertaining, it can be subtle, it can be humorous, satirical, there are so many ways that artistic or creative expression can present different truths and realities and versions of history, and it’s multidimensional. It’s about expressing ideas and values and creating debate and dialogue, which hopefully people can take forward and make real changes. Art [gives people] the opportunity to see another side of the world, to encourage them to go out and find out more for themselves. I think people just need an incentive.” (from here).
In 2020 they were featured in Grayson’s Art Club, hosted by Grayson Perry on BBC Channel 4, and a work of theirs was selected for the accompanying exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. Perry offered the following about The Singh Twins’ aesthetic: ‘They combine traditions from both Eastern and Western art to make provocative and sharply political work.”
Their exhibition at McMaster Museum of Art in Hamilton was described in the following succinct manner: “The Singh Twins assert their right to define their own cultural and artistic individuality in a way that is meaningful and true to who they perceive themselves to be — British Asians, Sikhs, artists and twins.” More artworks from The Singh Twins can be seen here, at their own site. They also have an active social media presence, on Facebook and Instagram.