Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra (Thukral & Tagra) offer a seductive and vibrant take on contemporary Indian society and culture. Thukral & Tagra’s refined aesthetic is applied to painting, sculpture and installation as well as graphics, interiors, fashion and product design. Much of their work is inspired by the pressures in Punjabi society on young people, particularly young men, to move abroad. While wandering and migration are longstanding in Punjabi culture, emigration accelerated during the second half of the twentieth century due to a range of factors, including increased global demand for labour and more relaxed immigration policies.
Morpheus (two pigeons), Morpheus (pigeon) and Morpheus (I love New York), all 2009, capture the dreams and desires of a generation seduced by the glossy worlds of fashion, celebrity, cinema and advertising, while also respecting social and family mores and expectations. These portraits of Punjabi ‘homeboys’ are elaborately framed, as if featured proudly in a family home. The pigeons in each image refer to a Punjabi term for those who aim to emigrate; the dreams of the young men may not always match the reality.