The Singh Twins

Amrit Kaur and Rabindra Kaur, with proud father, who has always been their biggest inspiration & support.

THE SINGH TWINS are contemporary British artists of international standing whose award-winning paintings have been acknowledged as constituting a unique genre in British Art and for initiating a new movement in the revival of the Indian miniature tradition within modern art practice – something which, in 2010, was officially recognized at the highest level of British Establishment when they each received an MBE  “for Services to the Indian Miniature Tradition of Painting in Contemporary Art” in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and, more recently, in 2015, when they both received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Fine Art from the University of Chester. More recently, renowned historian Simon Schama cited them as the artistic face of modern Britain.

A road trip to India as teenagers which introduced The Singh Twins to the ancient tradition of Indian miniature painting, together with the resistance they experienced when trying to develop that tradition as young art students, remain two of the most important influences on their art. Describing their work as Past – Modern (as opposed to Post Modern) The Singh Twins engage with important areas of critical debate – challenging existing stereotypes and redefining, generally accepted, narrow perceptions of heritage and identity in art and society. Combining elements from Western and Eastern aesthetics, The Singh Twins assert the value of traditional and non European art forms to the continuing development of Contemporary Art practice – exploring cultural, social and political issues of global significance within a highly decorative, often witty and symbolic style which has universal appeal and transcends cultural barriers.

They have exhibited in some of Britain’s most prestigious art venues – including Tate Britain, the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, the National Portrait Gallery, London and the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. Their work has also toured to Museums and Galleries around the world, including The Smithsonian Institute, Washington and the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi where, in 2005, they became the only British artists, besides Henry Moore, to have been offered a major solo exhibition at this, India’s foremost venue for Contemporary art.

Their works are in private and public collections worldwide. Public commissions include two major paintings celebrating their home city of Liverpool’s 800th birthday in 2007 and its status as European Capital of Culture in 2008, as well as paintings for, National Museums Scotland, the Museum of London, the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto and the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam.

The Singh Twins have received international media attention appearing on radio and television programmes such as the BBC’s Womens’ Hour, Mid Week, Front Row and Belief; CBC’s Here And Now, Channel 4’s, BBC 1’s Northwest Tonight, and Simon Schama’s BBC 2 Art series The Face of Britain. Amongst the numerous main stream publications and magazines featuring their work are the Penguin History of Scotland, The Oxford History of Art:Portraiture, The National Portrait Gallery’s The Portrait Now, Marg Publication’s New Insights into Sikh Art , The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, Artists and Illustrators, First City, Art India Magazine, Harpers Bazaar, Business Standard and Elle. In addition, several documentary films have been made on their work including Granada TV’s Singh Out Sisters (1998), Alone Together (1998) – which received ‘The Best Film on Art’ prize at the Asolo International Film Festival 2001 andThe Singh Twins (2012), which received the Creative Media Award at the Sikh Arts and Film Festival, California.

The Singh Twins work has attracted significant interest from academics, individual art students and University research graduates alike, and has been incorporated into the formal Education systems of Britain and abroad. They continue to be invited to speak at institutions such as Liverpool Hope University, The Museum of Liverpool, Tate Gallery, London; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; The National Museum of Modern Art in Delhi and Mumbai, the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, The Smithsonian Institute, Washington and York University, Toronto, where they were invited to mentor PhD art students.

In 2002 they were appointed official Artists in Residence for the UK Manchester Commonwealth Games and have since continued to help promote the artistic life of the Northwest Region in their role as Advocates for both The Beautiful North in 2007 and Liverpool City Brand in 2009, as well as Official Ambassadors for Liverpool Primary Care Trust’s Decade of Health and Wellbeing initiative in 2010 which enabled them to promote their belief in “the importance of art and culture to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of society”. The Singh Twins have represented Liverpool at international art exhibitions such as Fragile, 8 Days a Week and The International Indian Art Fair, New Delhi and have been invited to judge various art events including Arts Council England’s Art08 North West’s Awards and Design a Superlambanana Competition in 2008, the Liverpool Art Prize in 2009 and Merseytravel’s Art On the Network Competition in 2010. The promotion of their home city of Liverpool through their work was formally recognized when they were made Honorary Citizens of Liverpool in 2008. That same year they became the first recipients of the Liverpool Art Prize’s People’s Choice Award.

Although more widely known for their paintings, The Singh Twins are also published illustrators and writers, as well as filmmakers. Alongside the articles they have written for magazines, journals and websites worldwide are their books: Bindhu’s Weddings, Twin Perspectives, Worlds A-Part, The Making of Liverpool, and Images of Freedom. Their films, Nineteen Eighty-Four and the Via Dolorosa Project (a short documentary about one of their most famous political works depicting the Storming of the Golden Temple in 1984) and The Making of Liverpool (an animation film) have both won awards.

The Singh Twins’ most recent projects include a portrait commissioned by the Museums of Scotland of Maharaja Duleep Singh

(deposed Ruler of the Sikh Kingdom of Punjab and first resident Sikh in the UK)