The Singh Twins at the Walker

I went to the Walker yesterday afternoon to have a look at ‘Past Modern’ a retrospective from 1987 to now by Amrit and Rabindra Singh. I was surprised how busy it was, its usually very quiet at the Walker but I’m not often there on Saturdays I suppose. I was also impressed at the size of the exhibition, the twins’ work is so intricate and detailed I couldn’t imagine them turning out so many pieces.
They use traditional methods of Indian minature painting, bright poster colours and gouache but depict contemporary themes and situations. Probably their most famous (or notorious) painting is of the Beckhams portrayed as the new Royal family, complete with throne and crowns. There are a lot of celebrities in the pictures, for instance, a series called ‘Rethinking Rossetti’ has the likes of Madonna, Mother Teresa and Princess Diana imitating Rossetti’s pictures of red-headed beauties.
There’s quite detailed commentaries alongside each painting, there needs to be to explain at least some of the symbolism, far too much for my taste. So we have Muhammed Ali with a bow firing pens at a flag whilst standing on top of the world which is resting on a boxing ring which is balanced on the back of a camel that’s standing on an island (and that’s only part of it).
There’s some serious paintings about the 1984 storming of the Golden Temple by the Indian army and depictions of Bush & Blair have been added to the earlier ones of Thatcher & Reagan. I like the one of Thatcher as The Grim Reaper. Well worth a visit. There’s also a lovely new book of their works for sale as well as the usual cards etc.

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