This month’s Featured Work is Wedding Jange II, a 1991 painting by The Singh Twins. Rich in colour and detail, Wedding Jange II by The Singh Twins (Amrit and Rabindra Singh) focuses on aspects of a traditional Indian wedding set in 1990s Liverpool. The style, content and jewelled colours of this painting are inspired by historical Durbar court scenes, from Persian and Mughal miniature painting in which multiple scenes often form a single narrative.

Wedding Jange II

© Amrit and Rabindra Kaur Singh

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Wedding Jange II employs a shifting sense of perspective, where different activities are shown simultaneously. As preparations for an Asian wedding take place, the groom, dressed in traditional jacket and ‘sehera’ (a veil of flowers to ward off evil), and mounted on a white horse, sets off on a jange or procession to the bride’s house. Against a backdrop of the Liverpool skyline, coaches wait to ferry guests, while children glimpsed through a window at top left are glued to a TV rather than the real life drama outside. Bringing together aspects of Asian and British wedding traditions, The Singh Twins’ painting embodies an approach that challenges the view that people must ‘fit in’ by abandoning long-held traditions in favour of those of the wider host community.

Born in London, and raised in Birkenhead, Amrit and Rabindra Singh first visited India in 1980. Their practice draws upon a range of historical, cultural and geographical sources, as diverse as ancient Greek and Roman art, to Mediaeval European manuscripts and Victorian painting. After studies at Liverpool University College of Chester, they completed postgraduate studies in Sikh religious art at Manchester University; and PhD field research in India.

The Singh Twins were elected members of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts in 1994; and in 2002, they were appointed official artists in residence for the Manchester Commonwealth Games. They have exhibited internationally in solo and group shows including Slaves of Fashion at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2018); The Making of Liverpool: Portraits of the City by The Singh Twins at Alive Gallery, New Delhi (2011); and Contemporary Connections: The Singh Twins at the National Portrait Gallery, London (2010). In 2015, The Singh Twins were awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Fine Art for their outstanding contribution to British Art from the University of Chester; and in 2011, they received an MBE for services to the Indian miniature tradition of contemporary art.