Individually, each is a force to be reckoned with. Together, Arpita and Paramjit Singh are one of the most-celebrated art couples in the country.
It’s one of those rare early winter mornings when the sky is clear and the sun is happy to breathe in a blue sky. As we tiptoe into the room, strewn with paintings and the ‘armory’ needed to etch out the extraordinary from life’s rigmarole, we notice a petite figure leaning on the table drawing intently. Hearing the footsteps, the lady lifts her gaze from the drawing paper. This is 80-year-old Arpita Singh, beaming with a child-like innocence and exuding peace. The highly-acclaimed, top-selling woman artist best known for “Wish Dream” is unperturbed by sales numbers. “I am used to not selling,” she laughs. As we drift into a light conversation, Paramjit Singh, an accomplished artist and her husband, who was one year her senior in college, strolls in. Now they live together but work separately. “I have been thrown in that corner,” he laughingly points at his studio.
The power couple of the art world comes across as an unassuming pair of artists. To be constantly in the full glare of publicity cuts no ice with them. Even as Arpita is one of the best Indian woman artists, there wasn’t any major media and marketing buzz that went around when she sold “Wish Dream” at a breathtaking 9.6 crore as compared to the earlier sales of much younger and newer artists who sold their works at a much lesser price. “These things do not really matter to me. I am so busy working I don’t have time for this. Rather, marketing is not in my mental makeup,” says Arpita, as if thinking aloud. Soft-spoken with a peaceful demeanour, one should not assume that the artist couple is oblivious of the art world goings on. “Currently, the artists have more competition, more promotional facilities, more money and a fast life. But, we are not bothered. Not everything depends on market,” Paramjit sums up the current scenario.
Famous for creating panoramic, mystic landscapes, Paramjit’s works give a glimpse beyond the concrete, material world into spaces with abundant nature and tactile presence. Not one to rest on past laurels, the couple seems to be totally focussed on experimenting and improvising. “We still have to learn so much. If we do not go forward, we would be like a wooden block repeating the same thing,” says Paramjit. “There are challenges brought out by my own technique and inspirations. My inspiration comes from language and vocabulary changes. I have to create my own vocabulary,” he adds.
“There is always a child which exists in everybody. You wonder when you don’t understand a situation or a surrounding. Visual language is so different from the spoken language. In visual language, I want to know first then I want you to know,” says Arpita smiling jauntily, just allowing us a tiny peep in her thought process… the mundane can become exciting and disruptive can be toned down to tranquility.