As part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022, A free exhibit will present the works of a group of diverse South Asian artists at the ArtworxTO Pop Up Hub – Bayview Village, in North York. The exhibit is called chashm-e-bulbul (eye of the nightingale) and starts September 22, 2021. It will feature works that explore the erasure of Sikh grandmothers’ visibility from historical records and ways to tell their stories through oral traditions, Punjabi textile, and the folk embroidery Phulkari.
“A Sikh’s relationship with material is unique. The Guru Granth Sahib is worshipped as living representations of the divine Gurus and due to their high spiritual value, textiles from the phulkari to pagh to the ramala are treated with utmost dignity,” says curator Raji Aujla. “I was interested in applying the honest teachings of Sikhi to a curatorial practice by gathering a sangat of artists to exhibit their works. This presentation showshow textile brings a spiritual dimension to any space and connects us to our ancestral grandmothers who are the original artists and caretakers of the textiles.”
The exhibit will feature works of artists Angela Aujla, Darshan Daurka, Keerat Kaur, Harjot Ghuman-Matharu, Pamila Matharu, Jagdeep Raina, Simranpreet Anand and Conner VanderBeek.
Chamba by Harjot Ghuman Matharu
Chamba recreates a Sikh family home to showcase a time of mass immigration and resettlement. The site-specific installation of 70’s to 90’s era furniture, artefacts, archives, lighting, and soundscapes explores the spirit of gathering.
Madhur’s Phulkari by Jagdeep Raina
The state of Punjab was dramatically altered after India’s violent partition, leading to the disappearance and destruction of many Phulkaris. Madhur’s Phulkari explores the story of how violent transnational migrations impact the diaspora.
Kala Pani by Angela Aujla
Building on family and community exchanges, memory, and historical archives, Kala Pani (black water) pieces together a narrative of early Sikh immigrant women that has been relegated to the margins of history.
stuck between an archive and an aesthetic by Pamila Matharu
Stuck between an archive and an aesthetic is a new experimental video essay that mines lost and forgotten voices reverberating inside the institution. It asks: what exactly has or has not changed in the often-misunderstood area of “diversity programming”?
bande chasm deedn fanaai || By Simranpreet Kaur Anand and Conner Singh VanderBeek
In the title for this work, Guru Arjun Dev declares that all which humans can see with their eyes will perish (Ang 723). The pieces all draw inspiration from passages in Gurbani that discuss the spiritual emptiness, material wealth, and the transience of the physical body.
Mother by Keerat Kaur
Mother gives a monumental dimension to the Sikh women, currently aged 50-70, who raised Millennial and Generation Y as immigrant mothers, emigrating from Punjab between 1970-1990, to various destinations of the diaspora.
The exhibit runs September 22, 2021 to December 31, 2021 from Wednesday to Sunday each week, 10 am – 7pm at Bayview Village, 2901 Bayview Avenue Toronto. Admission is FREE. For more info visit: www.artworxto.ca/hub/pop-up-bayview-village-chashm-e-bulbul
Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022 is a year-long celebration of Toronto’s exceptional public art collection and the creative community behind it. Working closely with artists and Toronto’s arts institutions, ArtworxTO is delivering major public art projects and commissions, citywide, from fall 2021 to fall 2022. Supporting local artists and new artworks that reflect Toronto’s diversity, ArtworxTO is creating more opportunities for Torontonians to engage with art in their everyday lives. This September, the City of Toronto invites the public to discover creativity and community–everywhere. Visit artworxTO.ca for full details.