Back in April I visited The Walker Art Gallery to see Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins. I hadn’t seen their work before but it was advertised on North West Tonight and I was transfixed by the colours so off I went.
From The Walker Art Gallery website;
‘Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins. explored the history of Indian textiles, Empire, enslavement and luxury consumerism, and the contemporary relevance of these issues in the world today.
Focusing on the relationship between Britain and India, hidden details of Europe’s colonial past and its legacies were uncovered, including current debates around ethical trade and responsible consumerism.
The exhibition showcased almost 20 new artworks by the internationally renowned artists. Primarily known for their entirely hand-painted work in the Indian miniature tradition, The Singh Twins’ new work combined traditional hand-painting techniques with digitally created imagery. The series included 11 digital fabric artworks displayed on light boxes, with each one highlighting a different theme relating to India’s textile industry. A further nine paper artworks explored the relationship between trade, conflict and consumerism in an age of Empire and the modern-day.
Also included in the exhibition were 40 highlights from over 100 objects across National Museums Liverpool’s collection, which inspired the exhibition.
This exhibition was a collaboration between National Museums Liverpool, The Singh Twins and Professor Kate Marsh, University of Liverpool.’
http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/exhibitions/slaves-of-fashion/index.aspx-accessed 14th July 2018.
The panels were illuminated by light boxes on the wall and the colours were so vibrant and intricate it took a lot of looking to spot everything.
Ancient Roots- The wonder that was India-The Singh Twins 2017.
This figure in the piece is Hatshepsut, Queen of Egypt. This female pharaoh was ruler of Egypt for 22 years. The mythology of cotton throughout the centuries I found very interesting. There is a book called ‘The Book of Marvels and Travels of Sir John Mandeville’ which was written in the 14th century. It says that cotton was an unknown item to Europeans and at this time people thought that lambs grew on a tree called the ‘magical cotton tree’ and that they were the making and source of cotton. I quite like this story. As if each time the tree flowers a little lamb jumps down and goes and has something to eat.
Cotton plant as imagined and drawn by John Mandeville.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mandeville– accessed 14th July 2018.
“There grew there [India] a wonderful tree which bore tiny lambs on the endes of its branches. These branches were so pliable that they bent down to allow the lambs to feed when they are hungrie.”.
Coromandel- Sugar and Spice, Not so Nice-The Singh Twins 2017.
Chintz-The Price of Luxury-The Singh Twins 2017.
The Colossus of Woes. The Singh Twins-2017.
Partition politics : Business as usual. The Singh Twins 2017.
Partition and the British Empire was a big theme throughout the exhibition and also the way cotton and fabric has been used and traded over time. It was fascinating to read about as I will be honest I know very little about it except for things I have seen on television or read in history books. Once I had got home I read up some more and THIS is very interesting from The Singh Twins talking about appropriation of British and Asian culture within the UK and THIS series from the BBC about the last days before partition is also very good.
‘Iris’ From Georg Dionysius Ehrets Deliciae Botanicae-1732.
Georg Ehret was one of the finest botanical artists of 18th century Europe. His book of flower paintings inspired The Singh Twins who researched the meaning of flowers throughout the Slaves of Fashion series.
The exhibition has now finished at The Walker Art Gallery but you still see it at Wolverhampton Art Gallery from the 21st July -16th September 2018.
You can read the following links below to find out lots more or click on any highlighted throughout.
The Singh Twins website- https://www.singhtwins.co.uk/index.html
About the exhibition- https://youtu.be/2x-Yug0TIWs
Review from Art In Liverpool- http://www.artinliverpool.com/singh-twins-new-work/
The Singh Twins favourite piece in the exhibition – https://youtu.be/4xwIX4u6RMc
All links accessed between 14th and 16th July 2018.