Women Hold Up Half The Sky

Jasleen Kaur

C-type print

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    This print originates from a billboard work by Jasleen Kaur, produced in 2019, and commissioned for Spit and Sawdust, a community space in Cardiff. It derives from a 1936 photograph of Ludhiana Sikh members of the 2nd Royal Battalion in Waziristan, Pakistan, their shirts emblazoned with the khandar, a Sikh symbol and military emblem. Precariously balanced on each other's bodies, their feet are supported by a repeated human hand that is ‘doctored’ into the composition. The hands (Kaur’s mother’s), signal the artist’s interest in ‘non-masculine forms of resistance’ and the invisibility of women's presence in history. For this piece, Kaur researched the Sikh contribution to British colonial history recorded at the National Army Museum, London. In contrast to the rudimentary military records, the detail from personal archives revealed more powerfully the impact of colonialism on the lives of women and children.

  • About the artist
    Jasleen Kaur is a Scottish-Indian artist based in London. She graduated from the Silversmithing and Jewellery department of Glasgow School of Art in 2008, and studied Applied Art at the Royal College of Art, London in 2009-10. Her multidisciplinary practice explores the linguistics of material and the ‘social life of an object’, through diasporic identity and hierarchies of history, both colonial and personal. She has exhibited internationally since 2010, with selected group exhibitions at: V&A Museum of Childhood, London (2012); Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2014); MIMA, Middlesborough (2017); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2019). She has had solo shows at FCAC, Scotland (2016) and Market Gallery, Glasgow (2018). Alongside her practice, Kaur has lectured at the Chelsea College of Arts and Royal College of Art, London.
  • Explore
    Materials & Techniques
    C-type photograph
  • Details
    Women Hold Up Half The Sky
    C-type print
    height: 46.2 cm; depth: 86.2 cm
    Purchased from the artist March 2021, through the Art XUK project 2020-21
    The artist; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 31 March 2021
    GAC number