Remembering a brave new world is an impressive light installation by British artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman, commissioned by Tate Britain, London. Inaugurated on November 14th, in the middle of lockdown, the installation will brighten up the façade of the London gallery until January 31st 2021.
Chila Burman calls herself a “Punjabi Liverpudlian”: she was born in Liverpool from a family of Indian origin from the Punjab region in the northeast of the country. Her radically feminist artistic practice defies stereotypes and reflects on the struggles faced by Asian women in the British cultural context. Remembering a brave new world combines Hindu mythology, the world of Bollywood, colonial history and personal memories. Furthermore, the colourful installation made of vinyl, bling and lights celebrates the Indian festival of Diwali, known as the “Festival of Lights”, and incorporates personal references to the artist's childhood: visits to Blackpool's lightings and her family's ice cream van. The work explicitly refers to the Indian spiritual world: Burman has replaced the image of Britain, emblem of British imperialism, with the goddess Kali, icon of liberation and power. Lakshmibai, Queen of Jhansi, is depicted as well: a warrior symbol of India's struggle for resistance to British colonial rule in the 19th century.