Illuminating Art & Ideas
THE SINGH TWINS
The Singh Twins are contemporary British artists of international standing whose award-winning paintings have been acknowledged as constituting a unique genre in British Art and for initiating a new movement in the revival of the Indian miniature tradition within modern art practice – something which, in 2010, was officially recognized at the highest level of British Establishment when they each received an MBE from the Queen “for Services to the Indian Miniature Tradition of Painting in Contemporary Art”.
Describing their work as Past-Modern (as opposed to Post Modern), the latter engages with important areas of critical debate – challenging existing stereotypes and redefining, generally accepted, narrow perceptions of heritage and identity in art and society. Combining elements from Western and Eastern aesthetics the artists assert the value of traditional and non European art forms to the continuing development of Contemporary Art practice – exploring cultural, social and political issues of global significance within a highly decorative, often witty and symbolic style which has universal appeal and transcends cultural barriers.
As well as exhibiting at several of Britain’s top National art venues – including Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, and London’s National Portrait Gallery – they have also had major shows in Museums and Galleries around the world, including The Smithsonian, Washington DC, the Musée Des Beaux Arts, Tourcoing and the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, where they became the only British artists, besides Henry Moore, to have been offered a solo exhibition at this, India’s foremost venue for Contemporary art.
Having works in both private and public collections worldwide, the artists’ public commissions include two major paintings celebrating their home city of Liverpool’s 800th birthday in 2007 and status as European Capital of Culture in 2008, as well as paintings for the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada, National Museums Scotland and the Museum of London.
The Singh Twins have received global media attention appearing on radio and television programmes such as BBC’s Womens’ Hour, Mid Week, Front Row and Belief; CBC’s Here And Now, ITV’s Auction Party, Channel 4’s 4thought.tv, BBC 1’s Northwest Tonight, and Sky Channel’s Sangat TV and featuring in numerous main stream publications including the Penguin History of Scotland, The Oxford History of Art:Portraiture, The National Portrait Gallery’s The Portraiture Now, Marg Publication’s New Insights into Sikh Art and The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History as well as being profiled in magazines such as Artists and Illustrators, Art India, First City and Hello.
They are also the subject of several documentary films including Granada TV’s Singh Out Sisters (1998), Alone Together (1998), which received ‘The Best Film on Art’ prize at the Asolo International Film Festival 2001 and, most recently, The Singh Twins (2012), which received the Creative Media Award at the Sikh Arts and Film Festival, California.
Although more widely known for their paintings, The Singh Twins are also published illustrators and authors, as well as filmmakers. They have written numerous articles for magazines, journals and websites worldwide and their books include Bindhu’s Weddings, Twin Perspectives, Worlds A-Part, The Making of Liverpool, and Images of Freedom. While, their films Nineteen Eighty-Four and the Via Dolorosa Project (a short documentary about one of their most famous works depicting the Storming of the Golden Temple in 1984) and The Making of Liverpool (an animation film telling history of Liverpool) are both award-winning.
In addition, The Singh Twins continue to be invited to speak at institutions such as the Tate Gallery, London; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; The National Museum of Modern Art in Delhi and Mumbai, the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco and York University, Toronto. They have received significant interest from academics, individual art students and University research graduates resulting in their work being incorporated into the formal Education systems of Britain and elsewhere.
In 2002 they were appointed Artists in Residence for the UK Manchester Commonwealth Games and were the first recipients of the Liverpool Art Prize’s People’s Choice Award in 2008 – the same year in which they were made Honorary Citizens of Liverpool – an honour conferred on those (born outside Liverpool) deemed to have represented the city with distinction.
The Singh Twins are currently serving as official Ambassadors for Liverpool Primary Care Trust’s Decade of Health and Wellbeing initiative, which has provided them a platform to promote something they have always believed in – namely, “the importance of art and culture to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of society”.
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