D&AD Award-winning illustrator Sroop Sunar looks back hundreds of years to present a pictorial history of England, using the traditional British pub sign to redraw our cultural and visual heritage. Featuring a newly commissioned body of work, Sroop’s first solo show The Golden Glassy opens on 20 January at the Arts Gallery.
Influenced by the aesthetic of everyday Asian consumer goods, Sroop playfully explores her dual Indian and English ancestry, skillfully retelling the visual history of her two cultures with idiosyncratic visual wit.
Commenting on her work Sroop says "My creative work takes inspiration from a particular design culture unique to India. I wanted to use that perspective to explore Britain’s social history. I’m interested in the significance in a pub name to a particular place or region and how this is communicated using the simplicity of the pub sign as a basic, practical function.”
Pubs have been dubbed the “heart of England” and their iconic signs give a fascinating glimpse back into the local history of each establishment, where the visual element of the signage was often more important than the text in times when many could not read. The Golden Glassy encompasses pub signs stretching across almost a millennium, from England’s most popular pub name, The Red Lion, through the dark legend of The Slaughtered Lamb, to the knowing irony of The Office.
The title of the exhibition plays on Sroop’s dual culture. "The Golden Glassy" is a modern pub in a predominantly Asian community in the Midlands: “glassy” is an Anglo-Indian term meaning glass, while “golden” mimics the English tradition of pub names. Combined they describe a favoured Indian drink - a glass of whisky.
Sroop Sunar graduated from the Foundation in Art and Design at London College of Communication in 2006 and the Central Saint Martins’ BA Graphic Design in 2009.
Original screen printed, wood mounted pub signs will be available for sale during the exhibition. There will also be a limited edition run of ten prints available for sale for £100 exclusively through the Arts Gallery.
Pub signs and names authority David Roe will lead an in-conversation event with Sroop on 21 February, 6.30 -8.30pm, at the Arts Gallery. Free event with booking required via firstname.lastname@example.org