Tate Winter Commission: Chila Kumari Singh Burman
Posted on February 17 2021
Chila Kumari Singh Burman transforms the front of Tate Britain into a colourful neon art display.
This mesmerising installation immediately lures the eye of passers-by with its vivid colours and neon lights standing out against the greyness of winter in London. 'Remembering a brave new world', combines Hindu mythology, Bollywood imagery, colonial history and personal memories. Inspired by the artist’s childhood visits to the Blackpool illuminations and her family’s ice-cream van, Burman covers the already iconic façade of Tate Britain with vinyl, bling and lights. She changes the figure of Britannia, a symbol of British imperialism, into Kali, the Hindu goddess of liberation and power. The many illuminated deities, shapes and words are joined by Lakshmibai, the Rani (queen) of Jhansi. Lakshmibai was a fierce female warrior in India’s resistance to British colonial rule in the 19th century.
Burman is celebrated internationally for her radical feminist practice, spanning printmaking, drawing, painting, installation and film. Her Punjabi and Liverpudlian heritage enrich her self-expressive work. Burman mashes up stereotypes to create new identities, beyond the limitations imposed on South Asian women in a British cultural context.
The latest winter commission opened to coincide Diwali, the Festival of Light which celebrates new beginnings, the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. 'Remembering a brave new world' takes inspiration from the luminous struggles and victories of the past to offer hope for a brighter future.
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the light installation was extended past its original closing date in January, giving more people the opportunity to see the spectacle and for it to continue to brighten up the surrounding area during such difficult times. The winter commission is now expected to close on 28th February 2021 and to be dismantled soon after.
For further information on the Tate's winter commission, previous artist collaborations and the Tate Britain itself, click to view the official Tate website.