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Remembering a Brave New World

Chila Kumari Sigh Burman with her Winter Commission at Tate Britain in London – Photo: Joe Humphrys

By combining Hindu mythology, Bollywood imagery, colonial history and personal memories, artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman covered the Tate Britain’s iconic façade with vinyl, bling and lights, on the occasion of the fourth annual Winter Commission at the gallery — following works by Anne Hardy, Alan Kane and Monster Chetwynd. The commission opened to coincide Diwali, the Festival of Light.

The inspiration comes from Chila’s childhood visits to the Blackpool illuminations and family’s ice-cream van, while the references are as always to her radical feminism. This is how the iconic British Asian artist changed 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.

Called Remembering a Brave New World, “the installation takes inspiration from the luminous struggles and victories of the past to offer hope for a brighter future. It is a celebration of new beginnings, the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness.”

Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Winter Commission, Tate Britain – Photo: Joe Humphrys

Remembering a Brave New World
Tate Britain
from November 14, 2020 to January 31, 2021

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