The impact of the Gulf War in 1991 saw the entry of men in military uniform and soldiers onto Arpita's canvas. This painting was the artist's statement against the violence of the war and the rise of communalism she was witnessing within India. Soldiers stand on the perimeter of the canvas, "small, stubborn and silent", at the threshold of our space. Her paintings have a "pictorially active edge" which signifies that "the process of completion is usually in itself incomplete." (Nilima Sheikh, Arpita Singh, Oils and Watercolors, New Delhi, Vadehra Art Gallery, 1994.)
Women have always played a central role in Arpita's works. From 1990 on, she begins to paint older women and here they take on the role of mourners. They mourn for the loss of innocent lives, and at the realities of contemporary life that forces people to resort to violence of great magnitude. The painting also traverses between the public and private worlds. The entry of the soldiers into our space indicates that we are not isolated and separated from the problems of communalism and violence. We are forced to confront and contemplate how these larger issues affect us all.
This painting was recently part of a show on Anti-Communalism held in New Delhi.