Of late, Arpita Singh has been making headlines for all the right reasons. The artist, who was awarded the Padma Bhushan last month, set tongues wagging in December, when her mural, Wish Dream, was sold in an auction for a record Rs 9.6 crore – the highest price an artwork by a woman has ever fetched.
The artist justifies the amount, saying, “Wish Dream is a result of hard work and a lot of research. I spent a year making it. Why shouldn’t it fetch that much?” She reasons that this is a sign of community support for artists like her and the art of their times. “Anyway, the money didn’t come to me, it went to the auction house,” she laughs. Singh’s latest works are currently on display in the city. Her exhibition, Cobweb, marks her return to Mumbai after a decade.
Explaining her absence, she says, “Since I am affiliated with a Delhi gallery, I am based there. They’ve tried to bring my work here a couple of times, but it has proved to be very difficult.” Cobweb derives its name from the time span it represents — from the primitive to the present. The works are in Singh’s trademark style of rendering, while using a palette of vivid yet subtle shades. They all tell stories through visuals. Each is a journey — one that is filled with memories, emotions, and fantasy, conscious and subconscious utterances. Clearly, Singh has come a long way from her days as a designer at a weavers’ center. “I even taught in school and college as a means of livelihood,” she says, agreeing that although the financial condition of artists has improved only recently, they have always been revered and respected. Singh continues to toil everyday, regardless. “As soon as I gather some work, I’ll display it,” she smiles.
Arpita Singh’s exhibition titled, Cobweb, is on display at The Museum Gallery, Kala Ghoda till February 27