A decade ago, Anjum Singh stunned the art fraternity with her engaging show, The Skin Remembers. Mimicking a smog-shrouded Delhi, the artwork was perhaps the first to bring climate conversations into our living rooms.
The trailblazer, daughter to artist parents, Arpita and Paramjit Singh, continued building on this vocabulary till her untimely death last year to cancer. Even as she was battling the dreaded disease in New York, she was simultaneously working with friend and product designer, Aaradhana Jhunjhunwala, to create a limited edition of jewellery to raise funds for children with cancer. These unique pieces—40 in all—will be sold online on a2o2.in on April 13 and 14.
Comprising bracelets and brooches in pure silver with gold and rhodium plating, set with semi-precious stones, each of the unique pieces is inspired by Singh’s last show at the Talwar Gallery, Delhi, in 2019. A departure from her earlier works that focused on urban complexities and environmental degradation, in this show she turned her gaze inwards—into the human body; lungs, heart, capillaries, et al.
Jhunjhunwala then adapted these artworks into pieces of jewellery that share a common language but have independent identities. The duo had envisioned this to be the first of several collaborations and collections.Jhunjhunwala, who knew Singh since she was an art student at Santiniketan and Jhunjhunwala herself was studying in Kolkata, recalls, “Through the course of our friendship, we often discussed doing something together. When Anjum mentioned this collaboration, I immediately felt that this would be the best way for us to bring our art practices and passions together, all for a cause that is both meaningful and deeply personal.”
The idea behind A2O2 was not just to translate pain into art, but to use art as an opportunity to heal that pain. The name—A2 for Anjum and Aaradhana and O2 for the oxygen that represents the thin line between life and oblivion—reflects this.
Singh had earlier said of the collaboration, “In 2019 when I reached New York for my treatment, I was talking to my father and wondering about who addressed those children whose families could not afford this expensive treatment. I knew I had to do something in my small way to help. And as I was thinking about this, Aaradhana called, and the wheels began to turn.”The proceeds from the sale will go towards Cankids, a Delhi-based NGO that has worked for nearly two decades to support children with cancer across the country.