The EY Sikh Network organised a phenomenal evening with Amandeep Singh aka Inkquisitive last week where a small audience got the opportunity to get to know the man behind the art.
Inkquisitive’s creations are some of the best this generation has probably seen. His work is something we can identify with and being able to find out more about his beginning, his struggles and his own insecurities not only humanises him, but allows both creatives and fans to relate and gain perspective over different facets of their own life.
In conversation with Inkquisitive
Treated to an evening of canapés, conversation and the screening of his documentary, with special thanks to Nihal from the BBC Asian Network, we really got a sense of who Amandeep Singh was. What struck me was how determined he was to let the world into his thoughts even if it did scare him at times.
He spoke about some of these thoughts and ideas. One that stood out the most to me was the notion that we spend so much time pointing out differences between us that we don’t take the time to celebrate the similarities we share with one another. This resonated with me so much as it’s a sentiment my own Mum shares.
I have heard her say numerous times, whether it’s during a pep talk to me or in general about the state of the world that despite anything, ‘if you cut us, we all bleed.’ People and society ascertain divisions between us – whether that’s ethnicity, religion, or class. Ultimately that’s been our downfall as a collective race. It’s never been more relevant to adjust our mindset and realise this, given all the hostility groups of people are currently facing.
If society won’t force us to think about the state of the world and be supportive in our capabilities and individual expression, then it’s down to creatives like Aman who work not only to satisfy his own urges for expression, but to allow us to take a moment to really dwell on things that are much bigger than us.
Not missing the opportunity to ask the man himself a question, my hand shot up the moment the floor was opened.
‘In your documentary you say ‘creatives don’t kill themselves, society does.’ Why do you think society is so afraid of creative expression?’ I asked.
Aman replied: ‘Society in general fears anything different. Society is scared to take risks and growing up doing the art pieces I’m doing, they’re not quite, normal – it shouldn’t be for any artist to be honest. If you’re going to put anything out there then it should be something surreal and should be different. I feel that art in some ways and specifically in terms of society from what I’ve experienced has been based on people being too scared to understand what I do and I feel like that’s where society kills creatives. It’s not creative people. I can have a conversation with Nihal or you could even be an artist and we can understand each other to an extent, but sometimes for those who see it as just eye candy, they won’t understand it because they’re afraid to delve deeper and I feel that when you take that seatbelt off and enjoy and embrace each other’s talents.’
‘What advice would you give to creatives who feel misunderstood and have their own message to convey?’
‘I still feel at this stage that I’m misunderstood all the time. I don’t feel at any stage that I’ve made it. I feel that the only thing that’s working for me is consistency. It’s always based on that consistent journey. I do so many pieces all the time and I’m always wondering why isn’t it appreciated as much as anything else. At the same time, I think to myself, it’s okay, you’re not doing it for people, you’re doing it for yourself. So the more consistent you are with your journey, the more value there is for yourself.’
You can’t help but be protective over other creatives and seeing how honest Aman was during his interview and the Q&As gave me perspective on my creative strength and how precious and powerful that can be. He struck a chord with me and soon after I realised I had clearly been underestimating my own abilities.
Pictures of Aman’s artwork truly doesn’t do them justice. I have seen a number of his art through Instagram and Twitter but I found myself noticing new details in the very same canvases at the exhibition. Even more poignant were the words of wisdom that accompanied his artwork, each with a message of encouragement, motivation and honesty that I’m sure we can all resonate with. I found myself reading some of these over and over again. It was as though Aman could intercept my thoughts and offer the perfect advice, pep talk and insight.
Aman has a strong following on social media and no doubt so many people wanted to meet him. I don’t blame them. However I wanted to treat this exhibition as more than a meet and greet opportunity. This exhibition wasn’t just about checking in on social media and posting what the world would perceive as ‘eye candy.’ This was a chance to break away from reality for an hour or so, cast my eyes over fresh, inspiring art and allow myself to immerse myself and try and get to know Aman better through his work and at the same time, get to know myself a little better too.
I probably wouldn’t have done this if it hadn’t been for Aman’s exhibition. I found it warming how art transcended religions and ethnic backgrounds and had brought so many people from different walks of life together. I loved that there was beauty in every, single piece of art on display. I loved that despite Aman and I being very different, I realised there were similarities in the way we think about certain things too, which goes back to that mindset of celebrating our similarities rather than focusing on our differences.
Performances by Sonna Rele and Humble the Poet rounded off an already perfect Friday evening and was a fitting way to celebrate five years of Inkquisitive.
I can’t wait to see what the next five years holds!
I have to thank Indy from the EY Sikh Network for allowing me to tick two items off my bucketlist. Being able to meet and speak to Aman and see Humble the Poet perform has made this the best end to 2015. Thank you so much!