Meet the Artists – The Singh Twins
When you enter Manchester Museum’s South Asia Gallery, a British Museum partnership, you are met with a stunning 17-meter-long mural by The Singh Twins. This event is a unique opportunity to hear from the internationally acclaimed artists, who will be in conversation with Manchester Museum’s South Asia Gallery Curator, Nusrat Ahmed and Emily Hannam, the British Museum’s South Asia Gallery Project Curator talking about this beautiful new commission, Riches to Rags, Rags to Riches which focuses on three periods of Indo-British history as South Asia transitioned from ancient, through British colonialism and into post-colonial modern times.
The mural combines hand-painted and digitally created details with scanned archive material. It is an ‘emotional map’ of South Asia and reflects the Twins’ own identity and experience as British artists of dual Indian and English descent. The mural is a response to the Gallery, and also sets the tone for the visitor’s experience in the space – introducing, expanding and connecting multiple narratives. The artists’ intention is to challenge institutionalised prejudice, negative racial stereotyping and misperceptions about cultural identity and ownership.
About The Singh Twins
The Singh Twins are internationally renowned, award-winning contemporary British artists who explore important issues of social political and cultural debate and re-define narrow Eurocentric perceptions of art, heritage and identity. Described in the British media as one of the UK’s top artists, their highly decorative, narrative and symbolic work has been recognised as pioneering a modern development of Indian miniature painting within contemporary art practice. However, 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 Renaissance art, 18th Century British Satirists, the Victorian illustrators, Pre-Raphaelites, Art Nouveau, and photography. Significant recognition includes the conferring of an MBE, three Honourary Doctorates and an Honourary Citizenships of Liverpool for their “outstanding contribution to art”. Their work has been cited by Sir Simon Schama as representing the “artistic face of modern Britain”. Describing their work as Past-Modern, the Twins are featured in both the Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History and the Oxford History of Art, Portraiture series. Exhibitions include solo shows at London’s National Portrait Gallery and India’s National Gallery of Modern Art. In 2018 their hit exhibition, ‘Slaves of Fashion’, attracted over 105,000 visitors at it’s launch venue alone and has continued to prove a huge success at subsequent touring venues. The Twins were subsequently commissioned by Royal Collection Trust to create a new work for the ‘Splendours of the Subcontinent’ exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. Their mural for Manchester Museum’s South Asia Gallery is amongst their most recent works expanding on many themes they explored in their Slaves of Fashion series as part of their ongoing interest in Empire, colonialism and its legacies.