Wrapped in Festive Neon, Tate Britain Marks Diwali

Artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman, in front of her Winter Commission, Tate Britain (all images courtesy Tate Britain; photo by Susanne Dietz)

The work of London-based multidisciplinary artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman is always immersive. Her latest work, remembering a brave new world, has literally lit up the Tate Britain’s classical façade as part of the museum’s annual Winter Commission series.

Installation view of Chila Kumari Singh Burman: remembering a brave new world, 2020, Tate Britain

Amid the UK’s second lockdown, Burman’s installation was unveiled just ahead of Diwali, the annual festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs. The bright neon installation is a joyful, psychedelic display of swirling colors, embodying elements of Indian mythology, popular culture, and Bollywood with a whole lot of bling.

A major milestone amid her four decades of creating playful yet politically charged work across mediums, the outdoor installation navigates themes of cultural heritage, identity, gender, and memory in her trademark style. Indian motifs such as peacocks and tigers appear alongside Hindu goddesses Kali and Lakshmi. Embroidered eyes and lips, firework tiles on the steps, and a glittering ice cream van — a nod to childhood memories of her father’s ice cream truck, featured in several of Burman’s works — invite viewers along on a journey into Burman’s radical, fantastical world.

Chila Kumari Singh Burman, “Tuk Tuk” (2018) (© Chila Kumari Singh Burman; all rights reserved DACS/Artimage)

Burman’s nostalgia-laced project is sure to leave Londoners with a sense of warmth and light amid the gloomy winter months.

Installation view of Chila Kumari Singh Burman: remembering a brave new world, 2020, Tate Britain

Chila Kumari Singh Burman: remembering a brave new world continues through January 31, 2021 on the facade of Tate Britain (Millbank, London SW1P 4RG).

Wrapped in Festive Neon, Tate Britain Marks Diwali is from Hyperallergic, a forum for serious, playful, and radical thinking about art in the world today.

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