She’s going to all the time be right here

The year 2020 has been a year of losses. Young and progressive artist Anjum Singh left this world after six-and-a-half years of courageous battle with cancer. Daughter of celebrated artists Arpita Singh and Paramjit Singh, Anjum inherited creativity from her parents and followed it as her profession as well as passion.

In her oeuvre, she turned mundane objects and symbols to showcase her worry about growing materialism, urban consumerism, and environment degradation. Based in New Delhi, she did her BFA at Santiniketan, West Bengal in 1989. Then in 1991, she did MFA from College of Art, New Delhi. As a student at Santiniketan, she ventured into figurative motifs as she was highly influenced by Amrita Sher-gil.

Anjum Singh at her solo exhibition titled All That Glitters Is Litter. Photo courtesy Manisha Gera Baswani

A look at her paintings and you can see the artist had deep love for colours. In one of her interviews, she even expressed her fascination with bright hues. “It is very important to know your limitations. My problem is with colour. I am very comfortable using red and I know if something is not working, I can use red to make it work. I consciously restrict my palette sometimes, because that sense of adventure tends to fade away if you are overconfident.”

Pure colours were her first choice and use of white and black for mixing meant contamination. In time, she went on to acquire a degree in painting and printmaking from The Corcoran School of Art, Washington DC. That being her first time out of India, it opened a whole new world to her, which later translated into her flowing, experimental works.

In her last exhibition titled I am Still Here in 2019, she turned inward to draw inspiration and it was her own body that become the muse. She played with the perspective of medicine. The intricate systems, currents, flows, exchanges as well as point of breakdown that occur within the internal realm were brought into view in the exhibition. She threw light on the broken parts of her body, on the process of objectification in medical treatment. There is an effort to make you stop and think beyond the visible.

She’s gone but will never be forgotten, through her art, she will live on forever…

—Gurnaaz Kaur

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