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Past Modern

The Singh Twins

(September 2003)

This fall, East collides with West in Riverside. The Sweeney Art Gallery at UC Riverside and the Riverside Art Museum in downtown Riverside will jointly present the exhibition PAST MODERN The Singh Twins. This international show, which opens on October 2 and continues through December 6, 2003, is the West Coast debut of the highly acclaimed British-Asian twins, Amrit and Rabindra Singh. The Singh Twins are some of the freshest talent in the United Kingdom today; they have been invited to participate in more than twenty solo shows throughout the world, and are the focus of nearly 100 feature articles. Though their artwork is strongly inspired by traditional Indian miniature-style painting, they also effectively undermine assumptions about contemporary art, Eastern and Western aesthetics, and the supposed primacy of the individual.

The Singh Twins’ artistic process and collaborative partnership began early on in their careers. As art students, they faced harsh critiques from professors who reprimanded the two collaborators for their “derivative aesthetics and non-individualistic ideologies.” Conscious of their position outside the mainstream social and artistic norm, the Singh Twins resolutely refused to bow to pressure.

Maintaining their practice of working and exhibiting together as an artist, the Twins challenge the perceived bias of an establishment that valorizes self-expression as the ultimate achievement of contemporary art, yet denies the validity of anything that does not follow expectations dictated by a Eurocentric perspective. Indeed the artists assert their right to define their own cultural and artistic ‘individuality’ in a way that is meaningful and true to who they perceive themselves to be - British Asians, Sikhs, artists and twins. Their work, a quasi-exaltation of hybridity, offers a compelling perspective on the need to re-evaluate strict cultural definitions and role models within the wider context of an evolving global society. In one of their renowned paintings, for example, Princess Diana is simultaneously transformed into a hybrid of Britannia, the Madonna and Child, and the Hindu goddess Durga.

Nearly sixty original, stunningly intricate and delicate paintings will be on display at the two Riverside venues. A grand public opening celebration with the artists will take place on Saturday, October 4. For more information, contact the Sweeney Art Gallery online sweeney.ucr.edu or call 909/787-3755

Merrill Lynch is a proud sponsor of PAST MODERN The Singh Twins. Additional support has been provided by Burgess Moving & Storage.

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