An exhibition that explores the relationship between Britain and India, and features almost 20 new works by internationally renowned artists The Singh Twins, is set to open its doors in Liverpool next week.
Slaves of Fashion: New Works by the Singh Twins will go on display at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool city centre on Friday, January 19. The free exhibition explores the history of Indian textiles, Empire, enslavement and luxury consumerism, and the contemporary relevance of these issues.
Described by leading art historian Simon Schama as the “artistic face of modern Britain”, The Singh Twins received MBEs in 2011 for Services to the Indian Miniature Tradition of Painting in Contemporary Art. Their work has been displayed in galleries around the world, including London’s National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Institute in Washington and New Delhi’s National Gallery of Modern Art.
Although the British artists are primarily known for hand-painted work in the Indian miniature tradition, their latest pieces also make use of digitally created imagery. Visitors to the Walker Art Gallery will be able to view a series of 11 digital fabric artworks displayed on lightboxes, each one highlighting a different theme relating to India’s textile industry. An additional nine paper artworks will explore the relationship between trade, conflict and consumerism in an age of Empire and the modern day.
A selection of items from National Museums Liverpool’s collection that have inspired the exhibition, including jewellery, dresses, ceramics, books, paintings, Indian textiles and embroidery, will also be on display.
The Singh Twins said: “Issues around shared heritage and identity, which challenge generally accepted notions of cultural ownership and the perceived divide between East and West and past and present, have always been central to our art.
“Our aim for the ‘Slaves of Fashion’ series was to show how seemingly unrelated objects from different historical periods and cultures connect through the universal story of Indian textiles, and remain relevant to diverse, modern audiences.”
Exhibition curator Nicola Scott is due to hold a talk on Slaves of Fashion at 1pm on January 23.
She said: “This is an exciting collaboration. Through The Singh Twins taking inspiration from our objects, we’ve rediscovered our own collections and been able to interpret them in a new and unexpected way.”
The exhibition is a collaboration between National Museums Liverpool, The Singh Twins and the University of Liverpool, developed in partnership with Wolverhampton Art Gallery. It will run until May 20, before moving to Wolverhampton between July 21 and September 16.