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CHILA KUMARI SINGH BURMAN is an artist and self-described ‘Punjabi Liverpudlian’. She combines her Indian roots with popular culture, to create inspiring work that plays with light and colour, whilst sharing social and cultural messages that champion equality and togetherness across society as a whole.
I chose the Oscar Boot in Black/Gunmetal, because it’s a high quality, well-made boot with a classic style that I can wear with almost any combination of my outfits – they have a timeless design and I’ll have them in my wardrobe for years!
My practice has always used bright, uplifting colours inspired by the warmth of my upbringing and culture. My Tate installation was so well received as it was a spectacularly illuminating display with positive messages. It was a joyful celebration of my culture and experiences, and it lit up the gallery façade, attracting audiences desperate for something inspiring at the height of a second national lockdown when other public institutions had closed.
I am a feminist and activist, and this has always been reflected in my practice. My art has celebrated and sought to emancipate the image of women. Breaking stereotypes, and challenging dangerous narratives particularly in the context of South Asian women, female empowerment and education rights globally. Ultimately, exploring femininity, notably Asian femininity, has also led me to explore the impacts of imperialism, colonialism, race and class and I will continue to advocate for a fairer, more balanced society that doesn’t negate our differences, butt celebrates them without discrimination.
Much like my previous public work, I’ve made use of kaleidoscopic, bright colours. This is in honour of the images and messages that I have associated with my childhood, and I specifically wanted to honour the magic of entertainment. I was inspired by my parents, and have dedicated this installation to their memory. They were both entertainers; my dad, a magician in India, while my mum would entertain everybody at our temple and weddings. I felt honouring them, through this uplifting installation and all its elements, made a perfect link with Covent Garden’s rich history of street performers and magicians.