Sikh Arts Forum

Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany

Approximately a year ago the Sikh Foundation announced the launch on its webpage of the series “Opportunities & Challenges for Sikh Academics”, under which 22 articles by Professors of Sikh Studies and sophisticated intellectuals were published. While more articles on this subject shall follow we have now decided to publish another series of articles on SIKH ARTS. This series will cover articles on Sikh paintings [oil, water color and lithographs], sculptures, ivory paintings, arms and armaments, textiles [phulkaris, romalas, baghs and dresses], coins, stamps and other display items. For this series we plan to invite well known artists like Arpana Caur, Twin Sisters, Devinder Singh, Sukhpreet Singh, Manu Saluja and others. Leading curators like Forrest McGill, Sue Stronge, B.N Goswamy, Paul Taylor, Caron Smith, Nimma Smith, Daljit Kaur, Amin Jaffer, F.S Aijazuddin, Qamar Adamjee, Shivi Singh, Frank Ames; historians like Gurinder Mann, Nirvikar Singh, Pashaura Singh, Jaideep Singh, I.J Singh, Peter Bance and Sikh Arts collectors such as Maharaja Amarinder Singh, Dr. Kartar Lalvani, Arpana Caur, Dr.Anmol Mahal, Satjiv Chahal, Pushpinder Singh, Parmjit Singh and many others will also be included. We urge you to stay in touch to learn more on Sikh Arts through these first person accounts and literary articles.

Prem Singh
Artist Prem Singh, is a leading contemporary artist on the Indian Art scene. He has also served as the Principal of the Government College of Art-Chandigarh and member of both the General Council of the National Aademy of Art-New Delhi and the Advisory Committee of the National Gallery of Modern Art-New Delhi. He has been honored with the Triennale India International Award in 1994 and the
The Saatchi Gallery London, Your Studio Award in 2007. Over these years he has had over a dozen successful solo shows and numerous group shows. He continues to work and create artworks of astounding beauty and appeal from his studio at the National Art Center-Garhi in New Delhi.

Click here to read: The Festival of Life by Prem Singh

Jasprit Singh
Jasprit Singh is a historian specialising in South Asian Art. He is currently working for the Victoria and Albert Museum after studying history in Museum Studies and Research Theories. In 2005, Jasprit received an award in Canada for ‘Young Historian in South Asian Studies.’ Jasprit is a national level sitar player at many venues within the UK. He is also a well known Art Photographer having had a number of images published in fashion journals. He is now concentrating on compiling a collection of images of historical cities. Jasprit has been active in show jumping for the past 5 years and is reaching towards being national level in the near future. He spends a lot of time during the summer educating youth on Sikh art and philosophy in Sikhi camps across the country. Jasprit has a strong belief in his Guru’s teaching and seeks to widen his knowledge and understanding.

Click here to read: To Give our Past a Future by Jasprit Singh

Professor Puran Singh

Professor Puran Singh the mystical father of modern Punjabi poetry was born in 1881 in Pakistan. In 1900 he went to Japan where he specialized in Applied Chemistry during his stay of three years there. On his return to India, he settled as a Professor at the Forest Research Institution DehraDun. Later he took service in the Gwalior State, but not finding service congenial to his freedom loving nature, he finally settled down near DehraDun. He wrote both in English and Punjabi and translated some of Vir Singh’s poems. His excursion into blank verse was subject of much literary comment. Some of his English works are: Sister of spinning wheel, The Ten Masters, The spirit of oriental poetry, Life of Swami Ram Tirath, Seven caskets of Prose Poems, At his Feet, Spirit of the Sikhs and An Afternoon with Self. Of his best Punjabi poems are Khulle Maidan, Channahn dian Lehran, Sasi Di neend, Punjab de majdoor, Punjab de darya, jawan Punjab de, sohni di jhugi, heer Te Ranjha, rani ichhran de ucha gham.
Prof Puran Singh died prematurely in 1931 at Dehra Dun of tuberculosis

Click here to read: Notes on Art and Personality from the Sikh Viewpoint by Professor Puran Singh

Dr Nadhra Khan
Dr. Nadhra Shahbaz Naeem Khan teaches History of Art at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan. She is currently at SOAS as the Charles Wallace Pakistan Fellow 2011. Her areas of interest are Mughal and Sikh period Art & Architectural Ornament.

Her research area is Sikh Art & Architectural Ornament. She has traced different influences that have contributed to its flowering during the Sikh rule in Punjab in the nineteenth century. Generally accused of being a pale imitation of Mughal art and architecture, her work emphasizes the significance of Sikh architectural ornament and focuses on its distinct features that were a result of a continuous process of development. Her main focus has been the ornamental program of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Samadhi. This study included both structural and surface ornament. During her research she uncovered frescoes in several Sikh period buildings buried under layers of whitewash and plans to find more in other extant buildings. She has photographed almost all existing nineteenth century Sikh monuments in Punjab (Pakistan) and plans to exhibit her photographs in the near future as well as publish them. Nadhra is currently working on a book on the ornamental program of the Golden Temple, Amritsar. This book will document the changes that have taken place in terms of its decorative elements over the years.

Click here to read: Carved Doors of the Gateway to Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Samadhi by Dr Nadhra Khan

Dr. Shivdev Singh

Dr. Shivdev Singh was an Associate Professor of Pediatric surgery at Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research in Chandigarh, and a staff surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles before he switched to art. The pursuit of both these passion has been a life long journey. He has exhibited his paintings at both group and solo shows in India and the US. He lives in Los Angeles with his family.

Click here to read: The Many Facets of a Sikh Artist by Dr. Shivdev Singh

Shivi Singh M.A.

Shivi Singh M.A. in Art History from Punjab University, Chandigarh, India is a recognized scholar for her writing and research on North Indian & Rajasthani art and culture.
She lives in the Bay area and lectures on Art and culture of India.

Click here to read: The Janam Sakhi at Baba Atal By Shivi Legha

Manu Kaur Saluja

Manu Kaur Saluja’s oil paintings hang in prominent institutions and in the homes of influential families throughout North America. She has presented her work at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., and at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. She trained with John Frederick Murray at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and as a registered copyist at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is a 2003 recipient of the Centennial Award for artistic achievement from the Sikh Centennial Foundation of Canada, and a 1999 finalist in the nation’s largest portrait competition sponsored by The Artist Magazine. Her paintings have been featured in Nishaan Magazine (IV/2002), House Magazine (Sept/Oct 2001), and the Graphis New Talent Annual (1998).

Click here to read: The Art of Portraiture: The Making of “Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Lion of the Punjab” – by Manu Kaur Saluja

Mary-Ann Milford-Lutzker, Ph.D.

Mary-Ann Milford-Lutzker, Professor of Asian Art History, holds the Carver Chair in East Asian Studies. She is also Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Mills College. She received her Ph.D. in 1984, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her early work focussed on traditional Indian and Indonesian art and she curated exhibitions including The Image of Women in Indian Art in 1985, and Myths and Symbols in Indonesian Art, in 1991. Her most recent exhibition is Love & Betrayal: Bollywood Summer at Mills, 2006.
Milford-Lutzker was born in England and has lived in India.

Click here to read: Spirituality and the Art of Arpana Caur – by Mary-Ann Milford-Lutzker, Ph.D.

We start the series with this joyous article by Prof. Nikky G. Kaur Singh. This paper was presented at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, celebrating the opening of the Satinder Kaur Kapany Gallery of Sikh Arts.

Prof. Nikky G. Kaur Singh

Nikky Singh is the Crawford Family Professor of Religious Studies at Colby College, and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. Her interests focus on poetics and feminist issues. Nikky Singh has published extensively in the field of Sikhism, including The Feminine Principle in the Sikh Vision of the Transcendent (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), The Name of My Beloved: Verses of the Sikh Gurus (HarperCollins and Penguin), Metaphysics and Physics of the Guru Granth Sahib (Sterling). She has published over 45 Journal Articles and Chapters in books, and has given over hundred lectures in North America, England, France, India, and Singapore. Her views have also been aired on television and radio in America, Canada, and India. Over the years her scholarship has been recognized with numerous awards and honors.

Click here to read: Sacred Aesthetics of the Sikhs by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh



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