The work of London-based multidisciplinary artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman is always immersive. Her latest work, remembering a brave new world, has literally lit up the Tate Britain’s classical façade as part of the museum’s annual Winter Commission series.
Amid the UK’s second lockdown, Burman’s installation was unveiled just ahead of Diwali, the annual festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs. The bright neon installation is a joyful, psychedelic display of swirling colors, embodying elements of Indian mythology, popular culture, and Bollywood with a whole lot of bling.
A major milestone amid her four decades of creating playful yet politically charged work across mediums, the outdoor installation navigates themes of cultural heritage, identity, gender, and memory in her trademark style. Indian motifs such as peacocks and tigers appear alongside Hindu goddesses Kali and Lakshmi. Embroidered eyes and lips, firework tiles on the steps, and a glittering ice cream van — a nod to childhood memories of her father’s ice cream truck, featured in several of Burman’s works — invite viewers along on a journey into Burman’s radical, fantastical world.
Burman’s nostalgia-laced project is sure to leave Londoners with a sense of warmth and light amid the gloomy winter months.
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