Untitled | Mumbai | oil on canvas | 74 x 74 cm.
“Arpita Singh's paintings convey the feeling of disconcerting familiarity and of quiet which is the hallmark of sensitive surrealism.”
Richard Bartholomew, critic
Belonging to the vanguard generation of artists working in India in the 1960s and 70s, Arpita Singh’s highly individual practices have served as a model for younger generations of artists, particularly women, for whom her work has helped to break down significant barriers to art world entry.
Her free-floating compositions have maintained an allegorical style that combines personal and mythical narratives, which she described as “a memory of something once known and since forgotten, like childhood or paradise.” There is a Chagall-like quality to the work—at once innocent and critical, always sophisticated. As Ella Datta writes in the introduction to a catalogue of Singh’s work, “Whether it is oils or watercolours, the vibrant energy of Arpita’s imagination and visual language offers an exhilarating encounter. The images can engage the viewer in a profound and intimate dialogue.”
Singh was born in West Bengal before the partition of India in 1947, and studied at the School of Art, Delhi Polytechinic. After graduating, she worked as an art designer at the Weaver’s Service Centres of Kolkata and New Delhi. Throughout her illustrious career she has exhibited her work in solo shows in New Delhi and New York, and since 1960 has participated in several group shows in India and abroad, at places like the Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris; the Halles de L’lle, in Geneva; the Royal Academy of Arts, in London; the Lalit Kala Akademi, in New Delhi; and in the Algerian Biennale. She lives and works in New Delhi.