Renowned Indian artist Arpita Singh creates deeply personal works through a visual language of signs and images that she has developed over five decades of artmaking. Her highly original paintings are multilayered, often autobiographical, with references to history and myth, traditional Indian art, current events, and popular culture. She weaves these diverse elements into dense tapestries of imagination, experience, and reflections of the world around her. This is DC Moore’s first exhibition of Singh’s work. It presents a rare opportunity to see a selection of her recent paintings, as they are not often shown in the United States.
Singh has said, “I am a woman. I think as a woman. I see as a woman. My references are always feminine. This is the starting point.” She sees culture and tradition as being passed along from woman to woman, mother to daughter, as in the age-old rituals performed by Bengali women for the welfare of their families. As such, her art is informed by miniaturist painting, textiles, folk art, and other aspects of India’s rich, ancient culture.
At the same time, Singh is an astute observer of modern life, in tune with the rapidly developing society in which she lives and works. Through her long involvement with the modernist art world in India, she has a unique perspective on her country’s dynamic contemporary culture. Her paintings are strong and vital, their meanings often elusive, as she evokes the range of human experience with intimations of anxiety, danger, and tragedy as well as hope, joy, and wonder.
Born in West Bengal in 1937, Singh studied at the Department of Fine Arts, Delhi Polytechnic, in New Delhi. She first exhibited in 1960 with a group of progressive artists who called themselves The Unknown. In the mid-1960s, she designed textiles for the Weavers Service Centre, a government sponsored organization. She had her first solo show at the Kunika Chemould Art Centre in New Delhi in 1972. Since then, she has exhibited regularly in India and many other countries, including England, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Algeria, Kuwait, Australia, and the United States.