‘The Sikh Project’: An ongoing exhibition at California Museum shows many shades of Sikhs in America

Sikh Project
Photo credit: Sikh Coalition and Amit & Naroop.

The Sikh Project, a traveling exhibition, is on until March 10 at the California Museum in Sacramento.

Ishprit Kaur, a Connecticut-based nurse, who ties a turban on her head, just like the men of her community to feel empowered; Maryland-based Harpreet Kaur, a documentary filmmaker, who was also the first Sikh news reporter in Washington; and Raghuvinder Singh, a toolmaker in New Jersey, whose dad was shot during the 2012 Gurudwara mass shooting in Oak Greek, Wisconsin, and remains paralyzed till today. These are amongst some of the Sikh Americans who have been featured in an ongoing powerful exhibition called “The Sikh Project.”

The traveling exhibition is on until March 10 at the California Museum in Sacramento. The project is in partnership with the Sikh Coalition and was first shown in New York City in 2016.

RELATED: Exhibit spreading awareness about Sikhs in US to be unveiled around 9/11 anniversary (May 1, 2016)

The exhibit has now returned, this time to California. It is aimed at creating awareness about the Sikh faith, and, more importantly, to stress upon the diverse Sikh community, which was amongst one of the earliest immigrant settlers in America.

The portraits of Sikhs across the country have been taken by British photographers Amit Amin and Norop Jhooti. “We are very excited!” the two photographers had said in a 2016 interview prior to the launch of the exhibition. “In the US, it will serve as an educational piece as well as an art project as the awareness of the Sikh identity is still misunderstood; so we are hoping it will have a wider impact.”

They said in the interview that being Sikh photographers, they “wanted to show that in our culture, the beard has been a part of the Sikh identity for hundreds of years.”

The exhibition also highlights the community, which often bore the brunt of racism especially in post 9/11 America. The exhibit features 38 very different and endearing portraits from various walks of life. The Sikh Coalition partnered with British photographers to bring to the forefront the many facets, contributions and resilience of Sikhs in America, 15 years after the tragic 9/11 attacks. The exhibit was presented in recognition of “California Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month last November” and aims to embody that Sikhs are here to stay in America.

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