This timely exhibition, which coincides with the date of Indian Independence (declared at midnight on 15 August 1947), addresses the representation of Indian immigrant artists (both first and second generation) working in Britain for more than 70 years. Part of the ongoing series of exhibitions produced by the ‘Ben Uri Research Unit for the Study of the Immigrant and Jewish Contribution to the Visual Arts in Britain Since 1900’ (BURU), it is BURU’s first exhibition to explore a non-European émigré artistic community, following previous investigations, since 2016, into Austrian, Czech, German and Polish nationals who migrated to Britain — narratives which were significantly impacted by the Second World War and the Nazi domination of Europe.
This online iteration provides a snapshot of Indian artists in Britain from varied backgrounds and across different time periods. Modernists, such as F.N. Souza and S.K. Bakre, lived in the UK only briefly, whilst others, such as the Singh Twins, are second generation Britishers who consider this country to be their home. Meanwhile, global figures such as Anish Kapoor, feel they are ‘just’ artists, for whom questions of national belonging are incidental. The exhibition includes a cross-generational range of practitioners, who work across diverse media and with differing approaches to the question of identity; of being an ‘Indian’ artist in Britain. The exhibition is co-curated by painter, Shanti Panchal with advice from Dr Zehra Jumabhoy, Courtauld Institute, London. It is part of South Asian Heritage Month 2020.