The Singh Twins - Norwich Castle Museum, 1 October 2022 - 22 January 2023
Collectively they revealed not only the beauty, renown and craftsmanship of Indian fabrics but also their political, social and cultural significance as a commodity connected to complex narratives of colonial history.
A second room featured related objects from the museum's collections, many of which were incorporated into the artworks. Films by the artists, as well as smaller drawings, paintings and archival material offered insights into the Twins’ creative thinking and processes.
Inspired by Eastern and Western art forms, the Singh Twins use artistic language from centuries ago to address a range of modern, social and political themes through a combination of hand-painted and digital techniques. At the heart of their work lies the desire to challenge narrow perceptions of heritage, culture and identity and show a more balanced representation and understanding of the past which can influence how we relate to the present. The result was a beautiful, scholarly, and thought provoking exhibition.
A commission inspired by victorian puzzles and picture books in the NMS collections will now go on permanent display at the Castle Museum.
Caroline Whiting is a trustee of C&TA, an art historian and guide at Norwich's Norman Cathedral who is passionate about textiles as an art form, from medieval to modern.