At 82, is Arpita Singh ‘the next really big thing’ in Indian art?


Born in West Bengal in 1937, 10 years before the Partition of India, Arpita Singh is now widely considered one of her country’s premier contemporary artists. Her oil paintings and watercolours are renowned for the tantalising stories they tell, often from a female perspective.


‘She’s the standard-bearer for narrative art in India today — a narrative tradition that dates back centuries to miniature painting,’ explains Nishad Avari, Indian art specialist at Christie’s in New York. ‘She’s undoubtedly the standard-bearer for women artists in India, too.’


Now in her eighties, Singh has been the subject of a major retrospective at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in Delhi. Her work can also be found in the collections of institutions worldwide, including the V&A in London and Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.


In 2011, Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest honours bestowed on civilians by the Indian state.

11 March 2019