ARPITA SINGH

B. 1937

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"Arpita Singh has pushed the visual lexicon of the middle-aged woman further than almost any other woman artist. The anomaly between the aging body and the residue of desire, between the ordinary and the divine and the threat of the violent fluxes of the impinging external world gives her work its piquancy and edge. At the same time she critiques the miasma of urban Indian life with suggestive symbols of violence that impinge on the sphere of the private, creating an edgy uncertainty." - Gayatri Sinha

Each of Arpita Singh’s works has a story to tell. To simply say that this renowned artist’s work is narrative would be a gross understatement. Afflicted by the problems that are faced each and every day by women in her country and the world in general, Singh paints the range of emotions that she exchanges with these subjects – from sorrow to joy and from suffering to hope – providing a view of the ongoing communication she maintains with them.

The artist’s colours are vibrant, her palette usually dominated by pinks and blues, and her paintings burst at the seams with teeming life forms and objects or motifs like guns, cars, planes, animals, trees and flowers. Described as a figurative artist and a modernist, Arpita Singh still makes it a point to stay tuned in to traditional Indian art forms and aesthetics, like miniaturist painting and different forms of folk art, employing them in her work regularly. The way in which she uses perspective and the narrative in her work is steeped in the miniaturist traditions and a direct reflection of her background.

Since her first solo exhibition in 1972 at Kunika Chemould Gallery, New Delhi, Singh’s work has been featured regularly in shows of Indian art held in the country and internationally. These include exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 1982; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, in 1986; in Geneva in 1987; and at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, in 1993. She has also participated in the 3rd and 4th Triennials in New Delhi; the 1987 Havana Biennale; and the Indo-Greek Cultural Exhibition in Greece in 1984. More recently, her works have been exhibited at 'Progressive to Altermodern: 62 Years of Indian Modern Art' at Grosvenor Gallery, London, in 2009; 'Kalpana: Figurative Art in India' presented by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) at Aicon Gallery, London, in 2009; 'The Root of Everything' at Gallery Mementos, Bangalore, in 2009; and ‘Modern and Contemporary Indian Art’ at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, in 2006.

Singh has won several awards throughout her career, including at the 1981-1982 All-India Drawing Exhibition in Chandigarh, the 1987 Algeria Biennale, and the 1991 Parishad Samman from the Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi. The artist has also showed her works in more than twenty solo exhibitions including several in Chandigarh, Bhopal, Mumbai and New Delhi. Her prominent solo shows are ‘Picture Postcard 2003 – 2006’ at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, in 2006; ‘Memory Jars’ at Bose Pacia Modern, New York, in 2003; and ‘Drawing 94’at Gallery Espace, New Delhi, in 1994.

The artist lives and works in New Delhi.