UNITED SIKHS Launches Olympics Langgar Pre-Events

LONDON, UK—Thousands of Sikhs saw an exhibition of larger-than-life drawings of Sikhs last weekend, organized by UNITED SIKHS for Langgar 2012. The exhibition served as a pre-event to celebrate the Olympic Torch Relay run by 101 year old Fauja Singh on 21st July 2012, in the run-up to the London Olympics.

The exhibition by Australian artist, Daniel Connell, titled: Identity: Sikhs Embracing Diversity; was held at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall, London, to showcase the Sikh identity within the community, during the Queeen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend.

Daniel Connell and Mejindarpal Kaur of UNITED SKSHS addressing the Sangat at the Singh Sabha Gurdwara Southall

“UNITED SIKHS will work with Sikh gurdwaras and individuals in the UK and from around the world to showcase diversity by serving Langgar (food prepared in the Sikh community kitchen) during the London Olympic Torch Relay on 21st July when Fauja Singh will carry the Olympic Torch. Fauja Singh is the community’s gift to the world as when one crosses 100 years, one belongs to the world,”said Parvinder Kaur, UNITED SIKHS Project Manager for Langgar 2012.

“In order to engage the Sikh community in the UK for Langgar 2012 we are holding a series of pre-events and the exhibition by Daniel Connell has proven to be a good start for a dialogue in the community about what it needs to do to showcase its identity,” she added.

Portrait of a Sikh migrant to Adelaide

The exhibition that comprises 3-6 meter charcoal drawings took the pride of place on the walls of the Langgar hall and foyer of the Singh Sabha Gurdwara and was the first time many in the community had seen such drawings of ordinary Sikhs.

“Most people in the sangat were curious about why we were exhibiting these drawings. They thought the drawings were of martyrs and therefore were taken aback when we told them that the drawings were of ordinary Sikh men who had recently migrated from Punjab to Adelaide in Australia,” said Parvinder Kaur.

UNITED SIKHS and Daniel addressed the sangat and told them that in order to ensure that the Sikh identity is accepted as a facet of global diversity, we must first have a dialogue within the community.

“It’s an honor and privilege for us to patronize the arts as was encouraged by our 10th Master Guru Gobind Singh Ji. We have been encouraged by the response we have got from the sangat whose initial reaction of curiosity was quickly replaced by praise for the Australian artist who is enabling dialogue within the community,” said Dr Parminder Singh Garcha , General Secretary of the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall, serving the largest congregation in the UK.

“We look forward to participate in the Langgar 2012 event as this will not only be a fitting way to honor Fauja Singh but also warm up the cockles of the heart of mainstream society,” he added.

“This series of drawings was created in Adelaide, South Australia in response to a rapidly expanding South Asian Population many of whom are young male Sikhs. In the context of racism and aggression by the established population the works were an attempt to diffuse this and allow opportunities for engagement between the established and newly arrived communities in a gentle and respectful arena,” said Daniel Connell, whose travelling exhibition is supported by The Human Rights and Security Research and Innovation Cluster of the University of South Australia.

“I would like to see the works located in the realm of social sustainability, a term which enunciates the long-term benefits of resilient and happy communities. I am interested in terms such as tenderness and affection in the public realm and seeing the hand drawn portrait and the recognition it generates as an act of healing.” Daniel added.



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