Arpana Caur is a self-taught painter whose versatile literal and metaphoric approach to her subject matter embraces a range of themes inclusive of the material and spiritual worlds. Social, political, and environmental issues along with historic and current events inspire images of pain and despair as well as strength and compassion. Matters of spiritual and moral import are informed by her Sikh heritage as well as other spiritual traditions. Her collaboration with folk and tribal artists and study of traditional miniature and decorative painting weaves a sense of stylistic multiplicity through her work.
Her paintings are illuminated by images of spiritual masters and adepts, such as The Buddha and Guru Nanak, yogis and yoginis, embroiders of time and weavers of water. Heroines, nayikas such Sohni’s tragic tale of immeasurable love, serves as an example of one for “takes the plunge” in life. Like the cycle of day and night threatened by the recurrent hovering scissors in her work, Arpana returns again and again to her most enduring themes, but does not sever her connections, trees of life and desire continue to flourish.
As well as her work as a painter, Arpana along with Ajeet Caur direct the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature at Siri Fort and New Delhi where she lives and works. The academy houses museums of miniature painting, folk and decorative art and a gallery of her works. A free vocational training program for low-income women is offered through the academy.
Arpana Caur’s work has been included in extensive national and international exhibitions and collections including: The National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, The Birla Akademi, Calcutta, The Rockefeller Collection, New York, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Rubin Museum, New York, Singapore Museum of Modern Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, Glenbarra Museum, Japan, Bradford Museum, UK. Further information about her work can be found at arpanacaur.com.
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