Artist’s Statement

Balbir Singh

This completes the trilogy of work I have made on the theme of The Two Fridas. The idea of being united yet apart has remained strong since last year with the journey of the work coinciding with the journey of society through the pandemic.

The first version that was created premiered at The Bowes Museum, which had an all-female cast of dancers, representing the two painters and their shadows. The second version was for a digital live stream from Helmsley Arts Centre. With this version, we created the setting of an auction house, witnessing the selling of the work through the eyes of the host, the auctioneer, and a sense of audiences bidding virtually.

The third version, a longer work at one hour twenty minutes, has a cast of two female dancers and two male dancers, exploring the painters’ relationships with men. For Frida, she had a tempestuous and passionate relationship with her husband, mural painter Diego Rivera. The role of the male for Amrita was the alter ego, inspiration, and the statues in the Ajanta Caves coming to life. Both of the artists had strong and encouraging father figures.

This version also features elaborate costumes with three particular Mexican folk dances represented and Indian folk dance in line with the paintings of Amrita, illustrating village existence. We also have an additional set of larger cubes and empty frames as part of the set. Musically we have brought a balance between Mexican music and Indian folk and classical music with the musicians.

Overall, this mixture of ingredients has hopefully provided a rich, sumptuous experience for the audience drawing upon the exquisite work the two artists painted and showing the relationship between the music, the movement, and their artistry. If the audience leave inspired to discover more about the two painters then we have succeeded in what we have created.

Balbir Singh

BSDC's all-female cast of dancers from the first version of The Two Fridas, performed at Bowes Museum in 2020

Photo Malcolm Johnson

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