Past-Modern: The Singh Twins in Southampton

By David Prudames | 07 March 2002

Left: Painting the Town Red

For the first time the south of England has been given the opportunity to examine the cross-cultural explorations of the Singh Twins in Past-Modern at the Millais Gallery in Southampton.

With a brand of art as pre-occupied by Indian mythology as it is with wit and political satire Amrit and Rabindra KD Kaur Singh have established themselves as leading figures of modern British art, exhibiting in Glasgow, Washington and London to name a few.

Right: Our Father

Born in London, the twins have constantly been exposed to a range of cultures from their East African Sikh father, through their education at a Roman Catholic convent to their personal travels in Europe, the Middle East and India.

Their art is a unique marriage of traditional Indian miniature painting and contemporary themes, challenging cultural stereotypes and accepted perceptions of identity.

This exhibition takes in the last fifteen years of the twins' career and marks the start of what Bridget Davis at the Millais hopes will be a close relationship between the gallery and Southampton's Asian community: "Art is a wonderful form of communication" she said.

Left: Reagan and Thatcher 1987

Through work such as Diana:The Improved Version (1997), which cast the former Princess of Wales as the Hindu goddess Durga, a many-armed mythological symbol of power, or Rethinking Rossetti: Facets of Feminity (2000), the Singh Twins seek to question both media and public perception of themes and icons.

In fact, they are currently working on a commission of sports-personality portraits for the Commonwealth Games to examine a media-eye-view of such athletes as Naseem Hamed, Mike Tyson, David Beckham and the Williams twins.

The exhibition is running until March 28.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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