Arts Matters:The Pool of Life


56.4 x 83 cm (22.2 x 32.7 inches)

Poster, gouache and gold dust on conservation mountboard

Artist: Amrit & Rabindra KD Kaur Singh



This commissioned work celebrates Liverpool’s receiving of the European Capital of Culture Award for 2008. Executed in their unmistakable Past Modern style, which combines elements of the traditional Indian miniature with more modern, western aesthetics, the painting began in 2007 with months of research and took almost a year to complete. It highlights Liverpool’s aspirations for 2008, revealing in a highly intricate, narrative and symbolic way how arts organisations, institutions, individuals and community groups are marking Liverpool European Capital of Culture year. It focuses on Liverpool’s established identity as a vibrant multicultural city of art and culture presenting the city as a world-class stage at the “centre of the creative universe”, rising from the river Mersey, upon which the very best in arts, culture and diversity is showcased.



Dominating the stage are three female figures, which are inspired by but reinterpret Raphael’s ‘The Three Graces’. They symbolise the famous architectural ‘Three Graces’ of Liverpool’s waterfront – namely, The Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool Buildings. Together they hold up and present what will become Liverpool’s ‘Fourth Grace’ – the new Museum of Liverpool, which will significantly change Liverpool’s water front cityscape forever and remain one of the most distinctive and lasting visual legacies to Capital of Culture year. As European Capital of Culture, Liverpool takes on a new identity, which departs from its historical image as a Maritime/Mercantile city. This idea is signified by The Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool Buildings, (symbols of city’s past great achievements in Insurance Shipping and Commerce), being subservient to the New Museum in terms of their size and placement within the composition. More significantly, each of ‘The Three Graces’ attire (from left to right) is made up of imagery and details representing Performance Art, Visual Art and Sport respectively,  



Amongst the activity and celebration are some of the celebrity figures and artists connected with Liverpool - including Ken Dodd, Cilla Black, Steven Gerrard, Adrian Henry, Holly Johnson, Pete Postlethwaite, Simon Rattle, and Yoko Ono and The Singh Twins themselves. Hailing from the worlds of TV and Film, Literature, Art, Comedy, Music and Sport, these personalities collectively denote the rich creative talent of the Liverpool area past and present. Depicted being carried by a Tall ship into Liverpool’s harbour, they symbolise the ‘precious cargo’ of art and culture which has come to replace the traditional cargo associated with the City’s merchantile history.


Media interest in the celebration is represented by the film crew and photographer who mingle in with the spectators; the Radio City text on the BMX ramp and the Radio City tower. As the official sponsors of 08, the BBC, and Liverpool ECHO are also referenced. Overseas visitor interest and participation in 08 is also alluded to by the spectator crowd bottom left which includes portraits of some of the artists’ friends and family who live abroad.


The globe supporting St George’s Hall symbolizes the idea of ‘The World in One City’, whilst the sky of day and night together mark the continuous program of celebration taking place throughout European Capital of Culture Year. The regeneration of the City in preparation for 2008 and beyond is symbolized by a representation of the proposed new development plans for the waterfront and Museum of Liverpool just below the cityscape top right.


The Liverpool cityscape is made up of buildings from its twin city of Shanghai and other European port cities linked with the  2008 celebrations. Namely, Marseilles, Naples, Bremen, Gdansk, Istanbul and Stravanger.


Overall, ‘Arts Matters:The Pool of Life’ seeks to capture the spirit of what the European Capital of Culture year is about - reflecting Liverpool as a vibrant city with a rich and lively cultural life to be proud of.  Included in the composition are the official opening ceremonies and the many events programmed not only by Liverpool’s main arts venues but also made possible through individual and community commitment to and involvement in the 08 celebrations. Communities and individuals, whose contribution at grassroots level has been the backbone of Liverpool’s cultural and artistic creativity for decades and have made Liverpool the celebrated European Capital of Culture it is today. Although some of the events depicted may not eventually take place, the painting is as much about documenting and reflecting the aspirations and creative potential and vision of the city, as it is about showing what actually happens throughout 2008.








Albert Dock

Everyman Theatre


Lady Lever Art Gallery

Merseyside Maritime Museum


New Arena and Convention Centre

Liverpool Central Library

Liverpool Dance Initiative

Liverpool Olympia

Playhouse Theatre

Royal Court Theatre

Sikh Heritage Organisation, Wirral


St Georges Hall

Summer Pops big tops

TATE Liverpool

The Bluecoat

The International Slavery Museum

The Museum of Liverpool

The Philharmonic

The Walker

World Museum Liverpool





Alice Exhibition

And The Beat Goes On'

Art In the Age of Steam

Basquiat Exhibition

Ben Johnson commission, ‘Liverpool Cityscape’

Connect Programme' (‘The Blue Room’ project)

Egyptology Collection (PAPYRUS)

E-Space Lab project (Shanghai)

Figurative and Abstract Art Exhibition (including works by Bacon, Bell, Delaunay, Ernst, Kelly, Magritte, Modigliani, Moore, Picasso, Riley, Sherman, Spencer, and Vezelay, Warhol,)


'Fragrant' project, Jyll Bradley

Gustave Klimt: Painting, Design and Modern Life in Vienna 1900

‘High Society’ (Tissot exhibition)

 'Inside Out' program (Children’s art festival in William Brown Street)

Liverpool Biennale

'Magical History Tour'

MDI and LEAP 08 festival

Niki de Saint Phalle Exhibition

‘Sikhs In Print Exhibition’

‘Specimen Colony’, Alex Finley

The Singh Twins commissions and projects -‘Liverpool 800’, Arts Matters:The Pool of life’ and ‘The Making of Liverpool’ animation.

Wayfinding Project




British Dance Edition


Ken Dodd and Liverpool Laughter Makers

King Lear (starring Pete Postlewaite)

LEAP Festival 08

Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi

Royal De Luxe

Shakespeare 24

Simon Rattle conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Summer Pops music festival

TAOUB, Collectif Acrobatque de Tanger

The Viennese balls at St George’s Hall.





‘Cities on the Edge’

2008 opening Weekend

Africa Oye

Arabic Arts Festival

Brouhaha International Street Festival

Chinese New Year

FACT Film Festival

Fiesta Latina

Halloween Lantern Carnival

Homotopia gay, lesbian and transgender Festival

HUB festival

Liverpool Children’s Festival

Liverpool Comedy Festival

Liverpool International Tennis Tournament

Liverpool Irish Festival

Liverpool Reads festival

Maritime/Tall Ships Festival

Mathew Street Music Festival

Milapfest - Asian Arts Festival

Open Golf Championship

RIBA Awards ceremony

Shakespeare Youth Festival/Shakespeare in the City


The Liverpool Nativity

The Lord Mayors Parade

The People's Festival (Loveliverpool)

Winter Lights project  

World Firefighter Games

Writing on the Wall Festival

copyright the artists

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