Delhi-based artist Anjum Singh’s passing away on November 17 has left a deep void in the art fraternity. The daughter of well-known artists Arpita Singh and Paramjeet Singh HAD battled cancer for six years. She was 53.Art critic Prayag Shukla was very close to Anjum.
“Arpita ji and Paramjit were family friends, and we saw Anjum growing with our daughters. She and my elder daughter Ankita attended Delhi College of Art together. My younger daughter Varshita also had a great rapport with them. We lost Varshita on January 10. Both Anjum and Varshita fought bravely with cancer. It seems like we have lost two daughters in one year. The only solace is that they will always be remembered for their courage and smiles.”
Anjum’s last year’s show at Talwar Gallery, titled I am Still Here, was about her struggle with the disease. “It was extraordinary. Despite being born to stalwart artists, her paintings projected a distinct narrative of her own,” recalls Shukla.
The artist did her bachelors at Santiniketan, West Bengal, and her time here is fondly remembered by Sanjay Ray, a prolific artist himself, who recollects: “I was at the institute the same time Anjum was. Her demise is deeply mourned, but I am also relieved because she was in pain for a very long time now. This loss is tremendous.”
Artist Vasundhara Tewari Broota was engaged with Anjum’s works since the latter started painting.
“From the beginning, there was a tremendous honesty in her paintings that are very contemporary in nature, detailed but not in a decorative way, and with a sense of detachment. Her last exhibition at Talwar Gallery was heartwarming.
One could see how very honest and objective the portrayal of her pain was, as she was suffering from cancer,” says Broota, who adds, “Anjum’s use of red and black pigment was very evocative representing her life. The paintings were done in a non-sentimental way and felt very aesthetic. My respect for her went so high as she was doing brilliant works despite her circumstances, and this was very special in our art world.”