Aaradhana Jhunjhunwala and the late artist Anjum Singh’s collaborative project will be unveiled on April 13

Aaradhana Jhunjhunwala has mixed feelings. While she is excited to talk about her new collection being unveiled online (a2o2.in) on April 13 to raise funds for CanKids, an NGO working for children with cancer, she is coping with the death of a dear friend, artist Anjum Singh who passed away of cancer in November 2020. Before her death, they had collaborated for a project — a limited set of 40 pieces of bracelets and brooches in silver, with gold and rhodium plating set with semi-precious stones. These designs are inspired by Anjum’s last show at The Talwar Gallery in Delhi (2019) which had depicted Anjum’s battle against cancer.

(late) artist Anjum Singh  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“The works were powerful and touching,” says Aaradhana. “She translated her illness into drawing, broke the body into parts and had medical reports as part of the artwork. “As D-day approaches, this huge sense of loss is overwhelming; it is difficult to talk in the past tense.”

The show depicting a chronology of Anjum’s past two years was not about despair but of hope and triumph to her friends and family. Aaradhana recollects one particular artwork that featured a zip. “When I asked her the reason for it, she said, ‘There are so many advancements in science, but doctors still have to put sutures or stitches during surgery. Why can’t we have a zip which can be just pulled up’.”

Aaradhana Jhunjhunwala  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Working with craft clusters, Aaradhana has been instrumental in transforming these artworks into objets d’art that share ‘a common language with independent identities’ and also reflect the duo’s thought process. “There were times when she loved my creations and also times when she said ‘no’. She approved every piece. It is not a direct translation but an interpretation. Since we are raising funds with these pieces, the designs create hope.”

Aaradhana has known Anjum, who was a family friend for 32 years, since her Shantiniketan days. They gravitated towards the same kind of designs.

A piece inspired by (late) artist Anjum Singh’s artwork  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The idea behind A2O2 (A2, an acronym for their names and O2 Oxygen) was ‘not just to translate pain into art, but to use art as an opportunity to heal that pain’.

A piece inspired by (late) artist Anjum Singh’s artwork  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The sale (prices are ₹60,000 onwards) starts on Baisakhi (April 13). “Anjum’s father is Sikh and her mother, Bengali. The New Year, is an important festival for both communities. The festival heralds hope and we hope these designs bring a renewed sense of hope for children with cancer.”

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