This magnificent installation, remembering a brave new world, combines Hindu mythology, Bollywood imagery, colonial history and personal memories. Inspired by the artist’s childhood visits to the Blackpool illuminations and her family’s ice-cream van, Burman covers the façade of Tate Britain with vinyl, bling and neon. She changes the figure of Britannia, a symbol of British imperialism, into Kali, the Hindu goddess of liberation and power. The many illuminated deities, shapes and words are joined by Lakshmibai, the Rani (queen) of Jhansi. Lakshmibai was a fierce female warrior in India’s resistance to British colonial rule in the 19th century.
Burman is celebrated internationally for her radical feminist practice, spanning printmaking, drawing, painting, installation and film. Her Punjabi and Liverpudlian heritage enrich her self-expressive work. Burman mashes up stereotypes to create new identities, beyond the limitations imposed on South Asian women in a British cultural context.
The commission opened to coincide Diwali, the Festival of Light. It is a celebration of new beginnings, the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. remembering a brave new world takes inspiration from the luminous struggles and victories of the past to offer hope for a brighter future.
This is the fourth annual Winter Commission at Tate Britain, following works by Anne Hardy, Alan Kane and Monster Chetwynd.
Supported by the Tate Britain Winter Commission 2020 Supporters Circle: Elena Bowes, Priya Rath & Vishrut Jain, Roland Rudd and those who wish to remain anonymous, and Tate Americas Foundation.