Chila Kumari Singh Burman

Chila Kumari Singh
Auto Portrait, 2012-18 by Chila Burman

Chila Kumari Singh Burman is an artist who examines representation, gender and cultural identity. She works across the mediums of print making, painting, installation and film.

Born in Bootle to Punjabi-Hindu parents, who had just emigrated to England, she attended Southport College of Art, Leeds Polytechnic and Slade School of Fine Art, and completed her MA in 1982. She was a key figure in the British Black Arts movement in the 1980s, and since then has remained rooted in her understanding of the diverse nature of culture. Shaped by her upbringing, she has continually broken stereotypes emancipating the image of women through her works.  

At a time when the place of women in society and in the public space agitates mainstream news, Burman's work seems to resonate even more today in our collective imagination. From the 1970s, Burman produced overtly political works in reaction to English politics and international conflicts. Throughout the 1980s, she increasingly used self-portrait as a tool of empowerment and self-determination.

In 2017, Burman was awarded an Honorary Doctorate and an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Arts in London. She has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. Her works are held in public collections including Tate, Wellcome Trust, British Council, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum and Arts Council.  

Chila Burman lives and works in London, England.