The Art of Personalised Number Plates
Personalised & private car registration numbers have long captured the fascination of many car owners in the UK. For some, it’s just a cheap and fun way of adding a personal touch to their car, while others spend large sums of money on personalised number plates to demonstrate their social status and wealth. Additionally, some drivers recognise the investment potential of valuable registrations. Such is the growth in the popularity of private number plates that the industry is now worth around £2 billion.
Now, a Wolverhampton-based artist has recognised the artistic and cultural value of personalised registration numbers. Sukhjeven Chumber, also known as Suki Chumber, is a British South Asian artist who has opened an exhibition of photography that explores the cultural phenomenon of personalised number plates, particularly among the South Asian community. The project, called PR1V4TES, is on display at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery in Lichfield Street, close to where the CarReg head office is based.
Suki, who has had a previous project commissioned by the Tate Modern Gallery, told Desiblitz.com that the idea came to him as he was driving around the city where he noticed an emerging pattern. He said, “A number of private registration plates on cars, and particularly on fancy cars, had Asian names. The owner’s nickname maybe, or something else about them, such as their caste.”
In 2019, Suki began taking photos of drivers in the Wolverhampton area with their personalised number plates. While talking to the owners of private registrations, he felt that there might be a deeper meaning behind the plates, such as a reflection of the owner’s identity.
This piqued his interest even more, and he began asking why personalised plates are so important to them, why they are so popular, particularly among the Asian community, and what motivates drivers to spend large amounts of cash on plates. Suki said, “In my experience so far, there is a huge number of people who are very proud and egotistical about boasting their caste, religion or status.”
One of the private plate owners photographed for the exhibition is Bobby Bhogal. He originally looked for a plate with his first name but couldn’t find one within his budget. Instead, he paid £200 for ‘T80 GAL’ to represent his family name. Personalised plates that spell out the name Singh, such as those available from CarReg, are among the most popular – and expensive – ones on the market.
Take the opportunity to visit the intriguing PR1V4TES photographic exhibition, which is on display until March 26th and admission is free.
Find Your Perfect Personalised Number Plates
You can find the ideal private registration number to add that special touch to your car. At CarReg, we have over 60 million personalised number plates currently available, so start your search now.