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Sikh Art Galleries on the Web

04/11/2008

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    Don't think only of the Sikh artists you already know, like Sobha Singh, Amolak Singh and the Singh Twins; but take a look around and notice all the new Sikh artists who are beginning to put their artwork up on the Web.

    In earlier stories on the SikhNet news, we've featured the work of young Sikh artists such as Manmeet Kaur, Manjeet Shergill and Gagandeep Singh.

    Today I'd like to bring your attention to the work of Kanwar Singh Dhillon whose online gallery is at www.artofpunjab.com, Gurukirn Kaur Khalsa whose gallery appears at www.gurukirn.com and Bhupinder Singh, whose beautiful watercolors are on display at www.bhupi.ca

    Born in Amritsar India, Kanwar Singh has been engaged in the process of art making for as long as he can remember. He is influenced by a host of past masters such as Sobha Singh, Caravaggio and J.W Waterhouse. Growing up in Toronto Canada, Kanwar explored several paths that would allow him to work as a professional artist including animation and book illustration. However, it wasn’t until he started to take an interest in the history of the Sikhs that his art took a definitive turn for the better.

    With his painting style Kanwar Singh Dhillon aspires to combine the grace and beauty of Sobha Singh’s portraits with the documentary style of Sikh history painters such as Devender Singh. Punjab’s history is rich with the exploits of heroes and sages from the time of Alexander to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The spread of the Sikh faith and the rise of the Kalsa have featured heavily in his recent works.



    Detail from "Akali Phoola Singh" by Kanwar Singh Dhillon


    Guru Nanak and his Companions by Kanwar Singh Dhillon


    Kanwar Singh has graciously agreed to become part of the SikhNet team and is producing some new artwork especially for the SikhNet Web site which you will be able to view shortly as the SikhNet Web site is updated.

    Another new Web gallery of note is that of Gurukirn Kaur Khalsa.


    Gurukirn Kaur rejoices in the beauty of spiritual life, of nature, and of people who live inspiring lives.Her paintings express a point in time and space when something essential is revealed. By capturing these transformational moments, she has been able to create a number of iconic works which convey something greater than what the image or words portray.

    She writes:

      "I began my study of art as a child. My mother took me to art classes at a young age; first in Redlands, where I grew up, and later at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a two-hour drive away. By the sixth grade, I knew I wanted to be an artist. For high school, I went to an all-girls school, the Ethel Walker School, in Connecticut. The school was a haven for creative types and I was able to explore art, creative writing, choral singing and modern dance. I eventually became the president of the Art Club my senior year. I continued my study of art in college, both at Pomona College and the University of California, Santa Barbara where I earned a BA in studio art.

      It was while I was at Pomona College that I first met my spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan. The Kundalini Yoga class that he taught there during my sophomore year left a deep impression on me. I began to go into L.A. to take more of his classes and continued when I moved farther away to Santa Barbara. I had been searching for a lifestyle with a deeper commitment to spirituality for some time, and the Sikh way of life that he shared with us, with the practice of daily sadhana as its foundation, fulfilled this longing.

      I have used my talents to share aspects of the Sikh lifestyle that have been important to me. In 1994, I began the ‘Pure Longing’ series, writing a poem and making five paintings of a Sikh woman doing ishnaan seva. Presently, women are prohibited from doing this service of the early morning cleaning of the floors of the Golden Temple because of gender discrimination. Yogi Bhajan presented the poem and painting to the acting Jethadar of the Akal Takht; in 1996, several of us participated in that seva, although the issue remains unsettled to this day.

      My husband has encouraged me to use my creative talents to share the joy of spiritual life and of nature that have so inspired me. Recently, I have developed a passion for plein air (outdoor) painting and I go out and about around Arizona or wherever I happen to be traveling at the moment. I have a studio in Phoenix where I write and paint. In colors and words, I am happy to share the beauty that is around and within us all."



      Born in India, Bhupinder Singh traveled overseas to Australia to further his education. After earning a post graduate degree in computer science he traveled to Canada to follow his true passion: watercolor painting. He intends to stay in Canada to further his art career. He is a self taught artist and has achieved several awards for his artwork which include not only paintings but drawings and sculptures as well. He has participated in various national and international art competitions and fairs and continues to successfully sell his artwork around the world. Many people know him as ‘Kake' and he often signs his work with this name.


      Bhupinder Singh likes the spontaneous and unpredictable characteristics of watercolors which makes them one of the most difficult media to perfect. His work falls somewhere between realism and impressionism. His subjects are not restricted to any particular theme. After 9/11 he likes to contribute more towards Sikh related themes to educate people about the Sikh way of life through his art. He says his work is greatly influenced by artists such as Arthur Melville, Ron Ranson, Ted Rose, Winslow Homer, Stephen Quillerand Nicholas Roerich.




      I heartily encourage everyone to visit these beautiful online galleries for inspiration and to enjoy some of the best Sikh artwork on the Web.

      - Guruka Singh
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