Artist: The Singh Twins, UK
Title: Nineteen Eight-Four
Medium: Fine Art
Commissioner: Free License
This artwork depicts the Indian Government’s military attack (code-named ‘Operation Blue Star’ ) on the Sikh community’s most holiest of shrines, ‘Harmandir Sahib’ (The Golden Temple), in 1984.
The painting was motivated by the artists’ desire to redress the inadequate and biased media coverage of the event at the time which largely towed the official Government propaganda line – playing down the extent of physical damage caused to the holy site, as well as the fact that the main casualties were the thousands of pilgrims caught in the crossfire who had come to pay homage on one of the most important religious days in the Sikh calendar.
Through various symbolic details, the painting reflects on the suffering and personal sense of injustice felt by Sikhs world-wide and how they regarded ‘Operation Blue Star’ as a betrayal of their proven loyalty and sacrifice in the defence of India throughout history.
The work also has a universal dimension – placing this atrocity within the wider context of the suffering of innocent people and human rights abuses globally due to political greed and corruption.


The Singh Twins, UK

Cited as representing ‘the artistic face of Britain’, The Singh Twins are internationally renowned, contemporary British artists whose award winning work explores important issues of social political and cultural debate and re-defines narrow Eurocentric perceptions of art, heritage and identity. The Twins collaborate on their art, describing their creative practice as ‘Past-Modern’ as opposed to ‘Post Modern’. Their highly decorative, narrative and symbolic work, has been recognised as pioneering a modern revival of Indian miniature painting within contemporary art practice. But their distinctive style is much more eclectic. In addition to the Indian miniature tradition of painting, they also draw on the artistic language and conventions of other traditions, east and west, old and new – including ancient Greek and Roman, Persian and Medieval European manuscripts, European Rennaissance art, 18th Century British Satirists, the Victorian illustrators, Pre-Raphaelites, Art Nouveau, and photography.
Although more widely known for their paintings, the Twins are also published illustrators, writers, filmmakers and designers. Their films, titled ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four and the Via Dolorosa Project’ (a short documentary about one of their most famous political works depicting the Storming of the Golden Temple in 1984) and ‘The Making of Liverpool’ (an animation film) have both won awards. Beyond this, their ongoing interest to push the boundaries of their creative practice has led to them, in more recent years, to develop new work using digital technologies – as well as collaborate with top Indian Fashion Designer, Tarun Tahiliani, whose 2015 Spring Summer Collection was inspired by their artwork. This collaboration has inspired them to explore developing a Singh Twins, high end, fashion accessories and home decor label.