We were kindly invited to the private viewing of Firstsite’s latest exhibition, The Singh Twins: Slaves of Fashion and had the opportunity to meet the curators, and hear from the Singh Twins themselves!
This series of works by The Singh Twins focuses on themes of empire, capitalism, consumerism, and most crucially, the history of India’s textile trade. The works demonstrate the elaborate nature of traditional Indian textile design throughout the centuries while paying homage to those that crafted it. The space itself takes you on a journey through the history of the trade, beginning with illustrations of the first trade deal between Britain and India and concluding with today’s political climate and global themes.
The exhibition demonstrates the twins’ creative process, from inspiration and research into their chosen concept, through to the development stage featuring preliminary sketches and paintings, and finally creating the digitally stitched fabric lightboxes. The works are so intricately designed you could spend hours looking into the detailing and meanings within just one piece.
Entertaining and informative, ‘Slaves of Fashion’ invites the viewer to examine world events and decisions while considering the real-world impact on people’s lives. Overarching themes of slavery, the environmental impacts of trade, racism and politics run throughout the artwork; and the prevailing question that arises for spectators to consider is what is the human cost for the luxury goods we consume?