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Artist Spotlight: Samia Singh

Samia Singh, is a graphic designer, artist and sometimes-musician based in Chandigarh, India whose work focuses on women, nature and food.

Samia Singh,  is a graphic designer, artist and sometimes-musician based in Chandigarh, India.

How has your lived experience shaped your practice?
I was born in a small village on the border of India and Pakistan into a family of progressive writers and social activists. I have been brought up by three generations of men and women who have been writing and editing Punjab’s oldest literary magazine Preetlari and spending their lives working on the themes of equality, education, self awareness, psychology and feminism. We run an artist residency in our historic village which was set up by my great grandfather Gurbaksh Singh Preetlari in the 1930s based on Henry Thoreau’s Walden.

To me, it is a constant surprise to meet people who are till now unable to see the world outside of patriarchy or misogyny. In India, in Punjab my state – there is endless pain in families from alcohol abuse and toxic masculinity. My practise celebrates the freedom we have everyday, to revel in nature, to live our best lives without being made miserable by outdated and uninformed behaviours we might subject ourselves to for the sake of society’s expectations of us, our lives and our futures. I love to paint glorious views of nature that surrounds us whilst experimenting with different techniques such as vectors, etchings and gouache. I love to illustrate for writers and for researchers – to bring their words into an image. I love editorial illustrations and book design as I am very passionate about new knowledge that helps us thrive.

What are some of your biggest influences and motivations in your work? What issues are you passionate about working on?
The biggest motivation in my work is to capture the glory of nature and the abundance it provides us day after day. My influences are places, conversations and tiny moments of inspiration and learning that I get from daily life in my city Chandigarh, my village Preet Nagar, my travels to Japan, Scotland and my experiences of different societies. I’m passionate about communicating the beauty in the option we always have to constantly choose a life of good old hard work and good company whilst working towards whatever positive goal we hold as our mission in this life. My passion is peaceful joy, an inner balance where we feel just as happy as when we were a seven year old child.

Where are you based and what excites you about the creative community around you?
My interest as a designer lies in effective communication of new knowledge and research through international quality cutting edge design tools and practises. An effective moment that helps to create a positive understanding and response to the emotional, social and political landscapes we live in, in order to live fuller happier lives.

Creating effective moments of interaction through art and design is powerful as the experience you have is unique and stays with you – lingering and resurfacing at different points in time. I work across illustration, graphic design, sculpture, and music to create these lucid moments.

How does a focus on food feed into your work?
My family is historically a clan who used to be perfumers and alcohol brewers! We are all obsessed with perfecting recipes, breaking down ingredients and growing as well as buying fresh produce. I have been reading recipe books since I was a child and for me food is the central prayer of the day, to physically feel moved, inspired and full of power, food is a dialogue to get to know each other. I illustrate for Vittles, a brilliant food-writing newsletter which uses food as a lens to investigate our beliefs on identity as well as collective memory. I enjoy learning about culture through food and love to add warmth to the stories through editorial illustrations for Vittles.

Where are you based and what excites you about the creative community around you?
I am based in Chandigarh, India. I am a bit isolated sometimes as it is not a city typical for a creative community. But then how many people do we really need? My sister Ratika Singh is a wonderful photographer and my friend KJ has the world’s cinema and its pulse at his fingertips. My brother and his wife have pulled me into lifting weights and increasing my mental strength. I have a few friends who are brilliant musicians and writers as well as photographers. My Japanese Door to Asia community is full of intelligent and visionary designers and entrepreneurs. A few friends in Glasgow and Edinburgh are researchers and social scientists working on policy and change looking at gender, identity and education in collaboration with Universities in the UK. My friends who I met when studying Printmaking in Italy share their ongoing works with me in Spain and Germany. It is very exciting to know these inspiring people exist and face daily struggles and continue to create outstanding solutions through creativity. I love working with these people I look up to. As a graphic designer, an illustrator and a musician these collaborations bring me great creative satisfaction. It’s what makes us feel alive. I am in a constant state of seeking inspiration to live well and it is delightful to ride the waves looking up.

See more of Samia’s work on their website

What occupying a University building taught me about life Turning waste into beauty Artist Spotlights As a survivor, I need TV to do better Dismantling green colonialism in the belly of the beast The future is a promise that cannot be foreseen The future is a promise that cannot be foreseen Help, I feel depressed because my house is rotting. Can tech fix this? Rise of the war crime influencers Top surgery is just the beginning An old house, and the hole I’m in