British artist Chila Burman looks to her Punjabi heritage for inspiration as she adorns the historic centre of Covent Garden in neon lights resembling tigers, snakes and lines of poetry.
The Covent Garden arch welcomes us with the message ‘Do you see words in a rainbow?’, enticing us into the Market Building to discover more of her neon sculptures. From symbolic peacocks, tigers and flowers, to snakes, bulls and positive words and collages, Burman’s artwork illuminates the space.
In the heart of the arcade is a hovering neon octagon displaying the words Deluxe, Kismet, Fruity, Pyar hi Pyar, Razzle, Love, Shine and Light. Each word carries a special meaning from Burman to the spectators. The word Deluxe means wonderful, super and luxurious; Kismet denotes destiny and fate; Razzle is used to describe celebration and excitement and the word Pyar hi Pyar means love is love in Hindi. Burman has also brought her own interpretation of Covent Garden’s history as a fruit, vegetable and flower market with the word Fruity, also the Punjabi word for tasty and delicious. Finally, the installation incorporates the words Bizarre and Bazaar, with the wordplay referencing the market history, as Bazaar means ‘market’ in Hindi.
A breathtaking white tiger sculpture can be found in the North Piazza. The tiger also features in one of Burman’s famous bright collages.
As the installation is a celebration of love and identity, Covent Garden and Chila Burman will be supporting the Albert Kennedy Trust during this year’s Pride. Covent Garden will donate £1 to the LGBTQ charity for each person Instagramming a picture of themselves at the installation and using #CoventGardenInRainbows.
All images from Covent Garden