A new piece of work by internationally renowned British artists The Singh Twins has gone on display at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace.
Commissioned by the Royal Collection Trust (RCT), the artwork is a response to treasures from the Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition, which is also currently on display in the gallery.
Entitled Rule Britannia: Legacies of Exchange, it represents the first time the RCT has commissioned a contemporary artistic interpretation of its collection.
The piece is presented as a triptych and is inspired by, and incorporates, a number of treasures from the exhibition. These include South Asian paintings, manuscripts, weapons, decorative objects and jewellery – many of which were gifted to the then Prince of Wales by the princes and people of India during his tour of the Subcontinent.
Individual items include an enamelled, gold and jewel-encrusted inkstand in the form of a peacock-shaped boat. This highly decorative piece features prominently within the artwork and is used to bring in themes ranging from maritime trade and cultural exchange to British colonialism and its legacies.
According to the Twins, their work presents a timeline of British trade, rule and cultural relations with India from 1600 to 1947 and represents the important role played by British Royalty as promoters of Indo-British trade, trendsetters in Indian taste and fashion, and patrons of Indian craftsmanship.
The centre panel celebrates the positive legacy of this Indo-British relationship, bringing in key figures such as Indian princess and suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh, World War One fighter pilot Hardit Malik and the 2008 Britain’s Got Talent finalists, Signature.
Talking about the commission, the Singh Twins said: “We are delighted to have been invited to create new work responding to such a diverse and exquisite range of fascinating treasures from the Royal Collections. Exploring how to present these for modern audiences, in a visually impactful and meaningful way was challenging. Not only because every object had it’s own story to tell and could be interpreted from different perspectives, but because the interconnected aspects of British-Indian relations which they embody individually and collectively, are complex.”
“It’s been an immensely enjoyable and rewarding project which has enabled us to push the boundaries of our creative techniques even further. We hope our artwork will encourage visitors to the Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition to view the treasures on display not just as objects of beauty that belong to the past but as embodiments of a collective heritage and identity that remains relevant today”.
The Singh Twins are set to discuss their work during an ‘in conversation’ ticketed event on Wednesday, September 26, between 18:30 and 21:00. The evening will conclude with a private viewing of Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition and a special look at their new digital artwork in the Millar Learning Room.
Rule Britannia: Legacies of Exchange will remain on display in the Queen’s Gallery Millar Learning Room until October 14, 2018. After that date it will form part of The Singh Twins’ personal touring collection as an addition to their Slaves of Fashion series.
All images ©The Singh Twins