As a multi-cultural society in Singapore, it’s always good to go beyond our own heritage and learn more about the different cultures that make up our unique little red dot, like the long history of the Sikh community which can be traced back to the late 19th century, when they first arrived from the Punjab region in India.
Running from now to 30 September 2021, the Indian Heritage Centre’s first-ever Sikh heritage exhibition, Sikhs in Singapore — A Story Untold, aims to help you gain a deeper understanding of this small but prominent Singapore Indian community that has established itself over the years with societal contributions as soldiers, policeman, volunteers, athletes and more.
The exhibition is split into three parts:
🏛️ Roots, which explores the origins of the Singapore Sikh community from its beginnings at the crossroads of civilisations in the Punjab to the birth of the Sikh faith
🏛️ Settlement, which reveals the story of the nascent original community and some of its prominent members through narratives of Sikh migrants in Singapore
🏛️ Contemporary Perspectives, which highlights the ever-evolving Singaporean Sikh identity and the community’s contributions to the nation
As a community co-created exhibition, more than 450 artefacts from the community’s personal collection sourced during a collection drive held in June 2020 will be on display too — the highest number for any special exhibition at the centre to date.
The centre’s curatorial team has also worked closely with the local Sikh community to document and express intangible aspects of their heritage through creative projects such as the photographic installation Through the Lens created by local artist-photographer Afiq Omar that reimagines the Sikh identity in the context of a multi-cultural Singapore through a visual juxtaposition of 50 young Sikh adults against iconic Singaporean landscapes.
A specially-commissioned trilogy of films titled Being Sikh will also be available for you to enjoy at the exhibition.
Produced by award-winning local filmmaker Upneet Kaur Nagpal and writer Balli Kaur Jaswal, the series not only presents the contemporary perspectives of Sikh heritage in Singapore through the role of women, tradition, and faith but also highlights nuances of the unique and layered heritage of the Sikhs in Singapore.
The three films are:
📽️ My Name is Kaur, which uses the perspectives of a senior woman who witnessed many important historical events to reiterate the key role played by women as agents of stability and family well-being
📽️ Commitment, a film that draws out the nuances of negotiating cultural tradition by the younger members of the community
📽️ With Folded Hands, which takes you on a theatrical journey of faith and belief
Sikhs in Singapore — A Story Untold runs from now to 30 September 2021 at the Indian Heritage Centre. Admission is free for Singaporeans and PRs. For more information, click here.
All images courtesy of the Indian Heritage Centre.