A2O2 is the product of a decades-old friendship between Anjum and Aaradhana who met when Anjum was an art student at Shantiniketan.
When Anjum was diagnosed with cancer and receiving treatment for it in New York, the reality of the toll taken on individuals and their families became painfully clear. As they searched for ways to respond to trauma with art, they began planting the seeds for what would eventually grow into A2O2.
Aaradhana worked with art from Anjum’s last collection (the poignantly titled I Am Still Here) to create a small and limited-edition collection of wearable objets d’art. Blurring the line between sculpture and jewellery, each piece is unique and will never be reproduced.
A2O2 is a collaboration that aims not only to translate pain into art, but to use it as an opportunity to heal that pain. The name chosen reflects this – A2 for Anjum and Aaradhana and O2 for the oxygen that represents life support, in this case quite literally. All proceeds from the sale will be donated to support the treatment of children with cancer.
Anjum is no longer with us but her spirit lives on through her art, and through the many lives she touched.
Recorded a short while before Anjum passed away, the audio clip below is a brief conversation between Anjum and Aaradhana and their friend Noor where they talk about A2O2, about the journey that led to it, and about what the collection represents.
Anjum Singh was born in 1967 in New Delhi, India. She earned a BFA at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan, before receiving an MFA from College of Art, New Delhi in 1991. Later she continued her education at The Corcoran School of Art, Washington DC from 1992 to 1994, and was awarded the Charles Wallace Fellowship to work at Gasworks, London in 2002-2003. Her works are in the collection of Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and have been on view at Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai, India and at The San Jose Museum of Art, California. Anjum passed away in November 2020.
Photo: Dayanita Singh
Aaradhana Jhunjhunwala is an interdisciplinary designer based in Calcutta. Her love for Indian crafts, contemporary art, and textiles has grown over time into a practice that is simultaneously grounded in a deep respect for tradition and a healthy disregard for ingrained orthodoxies. Her commitment is not just to preserving the centuries-old techniques and securing livelihoods of the communities of artisans but also to rejuvenating aesthetic idioms to bring them in line with current sensibilities – and in doing so to bring these crafts back into the mainstream of contemporary design.
A2O2 would not have been possible without the constant support and encouragement from Anjum’s friends from across the world. Special thanks to the following individuals, without whose contribution we would have never come this far.
Anjum’s parents Arpita and Paramjit Singh have been pillars of support since the inception of A202. Paramjit and Arpita are celebrated artists who live and work in New Delhi. Paramjit’s work straddles both realism and impressionism and his canvases are evocative explorations of the possibilities that lie beyond urban jungles. The A2O2 logo is based on a design by Paramjit.
Widely considered one of south Asia’s most influential living artists, Arpita Singh is renowned for oil paintings and watercolours that convey rich narratives, frequently from a female perspective. She has been a critical friend throughout the design process and exceptionally generous with her time, feedback and guidance.
Anjum’s longtime friend and gallerist Deepak Talwar of Talwar Gallery (Delhi and New York) has been working with contemporary artists since 1996 and provided an invaluable sounding board for A2O2 since it was a nebulous conversation. Talwar represents some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today as well as the Estates of leading 20th century artists from India such as Nasreen Mohamedi and Rummana Hussain. Photo : Manisha Gera Baswani
Noor Enayat, PR magician extraordinaire has provided unstinting support and helped the A2O2 collection find homes all over the world.
Rahul Kohli is businessman and art connoisseur from New Delhi who has been a close friend and an avid collector of Anjum’s work for decades. Part of A202 from the very beginning, his support has been crucial at every stage of the project in translating the pieces from sketches to reality.
Artist Sheila Makhijani has been a dear friend to Anjum as well as to A2O2. An established artist also represented by Talwar, over the course of her thirty-year career she has developed a wide-ranging practice that has been sustained by a ceaseless exploration of the potentialities and boundaries of color on canvas and paper. Her works have been exhibited worldwide at MoMA, Talwar Gallery, KNMA, Kunsthal Rotterdam NL, San Jose Museum of Art, etc.
One of Anjum’s close friends, Poonji Nath has played a key role in the development and execution of A2O2. An art world veteran, she advises major private collections, and has worked with important artist estates and museums. She worked with Vadehra Art Gallery for over 13 years during which time she helped build their publishing arm, set up the Vadehra Art Gallery bookstore, and also set up the FICA Reading Room.
Anjum photographed at her last show in September 2019 – the poignantly titled I Am Still Here