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Cited as representing ‘the artistic face of Britain’, The Singh Twins are internationally renowned, contemporary British artists whose award winning work explores important issues of social political and cultural debate and re-defines narrow Eurocentric perceptions of art, heritage and identity. The Twins collaborate on their art, describing their creative practice as ‘Past-Modern’ as opposed to ‘Post Modern’. Their highly decorative, narrative and symbolic work, has been recognised as pioneering a modern revival of Indian miniature painting within contemporary art practice. But their distinctive style is much more eclectic. In addition to the Indian miniature tradition of painting, they also draw on the artistic language and conventions of other traditions, east and west, old and new - including ancient Greek and Roman, Persian and Medieval European manuscripts, European Rennaissance art, 18th Century British Satirists, the Victorian illustrators, Pre-Raphaelites, Art Nouveau, and photography.
Although more widely known for their paintings, the Twins are also published illustrators, writers, filmmakers and designers. Their films, titled 'Nineteen Eighty-Four and the Via Dolorosa Project' (a short documentary about one of their most famous political works depicting the Storming of the Golden Temple in 1984) and 'The Making of Liverpool' (an animation film) have both won awards. Beyond this, their ongoing interest to push the boundaries of their creative practice has led to them, in more recent years, to develop new work using digital technologies - as well as collaborate with top Indian Fashion Designer, Tarun Tahiliani, whose 2015 Spring Summer Collection was inspired by their artwork. This collaboration has inspired them to explore developing a Singh Twins, high end, fashion accessories and home decor label.
The Singh Twins have received many awards and official recognition for their work. Most notably, they were made Honourary Citizens of their home city of Liverpool and in 2009; received an MBE from the Queen for ‘Services to the Indian miniature tradition of painting within Contemporary Art’ in 2011; were awarded Honourary Doctorates (Doctor of Fine Arts) by the University of Chester for their ‘outstanding contribution to British art’ in 2015 and were recipients of the UK Asian Achievers Awards for Media, Arts and Culture 2016. In 2018 the twins were each awarded an Honourary Doctor of Letters from the University of Liverpool.
Attracting International media attention, Radio and Television appearances include interviews for the BBC’s Womens’ Hour, Mid Week, Front Row and Belief; CBC’s Here And Now, the Granada TV documentary Singh Out Sisters and Simon Schama's BBC art series 'The Face of Britain'. An independently commissioned Arts Council film about their work, ‘Alone Together’, received 'The Best Film on Art' prize at the 2001 Asolo International Film Festival. In 2002, when they were appointed official Artists in Residence to the Manchester Commonwealth Games one of the works they produced in response to the event gained international publicity and was featured as a question on the popular TV quiz show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?
Exhibitions include solo shows hosted by London’s National Portrait Gallery, Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Scotland and the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai and National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi when, in 2002, they were the only British artist (besides Henry Moore) to have been offered a solo show at this, one of India’s foremost venues for Contemporary Art . In 2016 The Singh Twins exhibited by special invitation at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and their public commission for the Museum of London which offers their personal response to two famous Victorian paintings on the theme of the ‘Indian Mutiny’ or First War of Indian Independence’, was selected for Tate Britain’s ‘Artist and Empire’ international touring exhibition. In 2018, a large-scale mixed medium digital artwork especially commisioned by Royal Collection Trust was exhibited at Queen's Gallery Buckingham Palace as part of their Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition.
The Singh Twins art is in private and public collections worldwide. Amongst some of their most well known public commissions are two works celebrating Liverpool’s 800th birthday and status as European Capital of Culture in 2008; A symbolic portrait of Maharaja Duleep Singh - deposed Ruler of the Sikh Kingdom of Punjab and first resident Sikh in the UK - created for the National Museums Scotland and EnTWINed, commissioned by the Museum of London.
Their latest exhibition Slaves of Fashion:New Works by The Singh Twins explores hidden narratives of Empire, Colonilaism, conflict and slavery through the lens of India's historical textile trade and their relevance to modern day legacies and debates around ethical consumerism, racism and the politics of trade. Attracting over 105,000 visitors at its launch venue alone (National Museums Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery) in 2018, Slaves of Fashion including new works in the series, is being planned to tour further venues within UK and abroad.
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