Chila Kumari Singh Burman has a widely recognised, unique visual identity that has been shaped by her working class childhood in a Liverpudlian household. Born and raised within the wonderful Punjabi Hindu culture of her parents, Chila's upbringing has shaped her practice, and experience of the world and is one of the key reasons why her works have come to speak to several generations of young multicultural communities in Britain.
With a practice devoted to challenging stereotypes, and placing alternative perspectives of Britishness at the forefront of art history. Her works reach global audiences. She has exhibited widely in both solo and group shows nationally and internationally, and represented Britain at the Havana Biennale in 1996. A number of her works and film pieces are represented in museums and notable public institutions such as the British Council, Victoria and Albert Museum, BFI, Wellcome Collection, Science Museum and Tate. Through this exposure, she has been able to engage with new generations and societies, connecting with the younger generation and emerging artists in the early stages of their practices.
Chila has always had a passion for teaching and engaging with the next generation, having taught at Lahore College of Art and holding a number of popular talks with students across the UK and the wider public. For over 13 years, she has served as a trustee on the board of Rich Mix, a charity celebrating the diversity of London through an aspiring program of contemporary culture. And she has gifted her time and works to raise funds for a number of other charities, more recently this includes a collaboration with Rankin and WaterAid, and the creation of a print for WWF's fight against climate change campaign. She recently featured in Sky Arts' documentary special Statues Redressed, following a number of artists in a unique project reimagining Liverpool's most iconic statues. And has completed a number of notable commission pieces for brands including Netflix's White Tiger campaign and Byredo's new fragrance Mumbai Noise.
In 2017, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate and Honorary Fellowship from the University of Arts in London for her outstanding contribution to the arts. In 2020, she designed Tate Britain’s façade with a colourful celebration of her Hindu Punjabi upbringing. The culminating piece, remembering a brave new world quite literally lit up London and was widely credited for uplifting the public at the height of a year blighted by the covid-19 pandemic.
More recently she has continued her mission to illuminate London, with recent new neon installations celebrating the beauty in diversity and uplifting the community in do you see words in rainbows, from Covent Garden’s market buildings, Liverpool love of my life adorning Liverpool’s town hall and Blackpool light of my life decorating the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool.
Education1981-82Master of Arts in Fine Art, Slade School of Art, London1976-79Bachelor of Honors Arts degree in Fine Art Printmaking, Leeds Polytechnic (now Leeds Metropolitan University)1975Foundation Course in Art, Southport College of Art and Design
Exhibitions and Solo Shows2022London Original Print Fair, Somerset House, London2022The Other Art Fair, Truman Brewery, London2022Hidden in Plain Sight, Stephen Lawrence Gallery, Greenwich2022Neon Drama & Pearl Drops, Mansard Gallery, Heal's2021Covent Garden commission2020-21Remembering a brave new world, Tate Britain Winter Commission2017Iluminating India, Science Museum2017Beyond Pop, Wolverhampton Art Gallery
2017Dada And The Punjabi Princess, Attenborough Centre, Leicester2017Self - Portrait in Sugar, MAK Gallery, London2015MAJAJINI RichMix London2015MY RANGILI Merry-go-round Embrace Arts, Richard Attenborough Centre2014THIS IS NOT ME, Cookhouse Gallery London2013Gender Matters, Brunei Gallery SOAS London2013Ice Cream and Bindi Girls, Alchemy Festival, Southbank Centre2011Fragments of My Imagination, Paradox Gallery, Singapore2010Chila Burman’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, USURP Gallery, London2008A Selection of Chila Burman's paintings, prints and drawings, Huyton Gallery Library, Knowlsey, Liverpool2006CANDY POP & JUICY LUCY, Stephen Lawrence Gallery2005-07Damascus and Aleppo, British Council touring exhibition2004Material Serendipity, Plymouth Arts Centre2003Points of View, Hastings Museum & Art Gallery2003Enchanting the Icon, Sakshi Gallery2002Visual Autobiographies, Rich Mix, London1999Hello Girls!, Andrew Mummery Gallery199928 Positions in 34 Years, V&A Museum1999‘Sister India’, Queen Elizabeth Hall II, South Bank, London1998Khoj International Workshop, Sikribagh Modinager, India1998Out of India. Queens Museum, New York1998Genders and Nations, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University1998Mural for Nine Acres School, Plumstead, London1997Ice Cream and Magic, People's History Museum, Manchester1996Between the Visible and Invisible, National College of the Arts, Lahore, Pakistan1993Body Weapons installation, Seven Vintappres GR3, Stockholm, Sweden1992RIP, CUT, CURL, Radical Hair Gallery, London1991One Love, outside Finsbury Park Youth Club, London1990RANI, Horizon Gallery, London1988One Draw, One Spirit Gallery, London1988Numaish Lalit Kala Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool1986The Roundhouse Mural Project, Camden, London1985The Thin Black Line, ICA, London1985Artists Against Apartheid, Royal Festival Hall, London1985Southall Black Resistance Mural, in collaboration with Keith Piper1983Creation for Liberation, Brixton Art Gallery, London1983Black Women Time Now, Battersea Arts Centre, London1983Indian Artists in UK, Festival of India, Concourse Gallery, Barbican Centre, London1981New Contemporaries ICA, London