Call For Artist Submissions For Ontario Sikh Heritage Month, April 2016: GURRATAN SINGH
Monday, January 18
Want to get involved with Ontario's Sikh Heritage Month (April) celebrations for 2016?
For those of you that don’t know, April is, by parliamentary decree, Sikh Heritage Month in the Canadian province of Ontario.
I know, it’s pretty cool, isn‘t it. Between its Sikh Minister of Defence; a central government that takes pride in four cabinet ministers, a federal parliament that boasts 17 Sikh-Canadian Members of Parliament, huge Sikh-Canadian communities across the length and breadth of the vast land, overall positive multicultural attitudes … along with being home to JusReign, Lilly Singh and other social media stars, Canada is very much a home for a million Sikhs.
In Ontario, Sikh Heritage Month has become the icing on the cake. Passed into legislation in 2013, this bill, put forward by Ontario’s Member of Provincial Parliament Jagmeet Singh, recognizes April as a month to remember and honour Sikh Heritage. Annually.
That’s right, this was not a one-time deal, this bill is here to stay. This law is one of the first of its kind in the world and doesn’t even exist on the subcontinent, the land where Sikhism took root and is with the highest population of Sikhs in the world.
Sikh Heritage Month opened many doors in celebrating the rich tradition of the Sikh community.
People started to host events at their workplaces, held gatherings at their homes, and used April as a month to start educating and informing people about the Sikhi.
In Brampton, Ontario, home to one of the largest Sikh communities outside of Punjab, a very special relationship began. The Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archive (PAMA), Brampton’s pre-eminent art institution, partnered with the Sikh-Canadian community to celebrate not just a day, but an entire month of programming around Sikh Heritage.
The results were amazing! Together they created, “The Spirit of the Sikhs,” a month long exhibit featuring the work of 22 local and international artists. In addition, a dynamic month of programming was provided to the community with over 20 events with the help of more than 15 community partners. Over 4500 people attended PAMA over the month of April to experience Sikh arts and culture.
The programs were outstanding. They were unique, dynamic and, most importantly, fun. PAMA hosted energetic opening and closing nights. These events brought the community together for evenings of performances, music, art, food and more. PAMA also hosted a variety of other events including: a special one day exhibit of an extensive Sikh Coin Collection; discussions about Sikh History & Heritage; gurbani workshops, along with a slew of exhibitions by local artists.
This ground-breaking partnership was even recognized by the Ontario Museum Association which awarded PAMA with the Community Engagement Award of Excellence for its Sikh Heritage Month programming.
Plans are already underway to expand Sikh Heritage Month for 2016. At the centre of these plans is inviting UK Artists, ‘The Singh Twins’, as the main exhibitors for the Sikh Heritage Month celebrations. The Singh Twins are widely recognized as two of the most well established contemporary artists in the Sikh Diaspora. Their world-renowned work has resulted in recognition by numerous art and academic institutions.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
This is an open call for submissions from all artists, exhibitors, presenters, workshop facilitators and anyone else who wants to present content at PAMA for The Sikh Heritage Month.
Our goal is to provide a platform where anyone can come out to express himself/herself about the rich Sikh tradition. Whether it be through exhibiting visual art, hosting a discussion, organizing an open mike, or facilitating a workshop, we want you to get involved with Sikh Heritage Month.
Please note that the DEADLINE for programming submissions have been extended to Monday, January 18, 2016.