"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Artwork dedicated to Hardeep Singh Nijjar for his solidarity with the indigenous communities presented to Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Featured

On Friday, June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day, a special event was held at a Sikh religious space where its president was assassinated last year.  

Hardeep Singh Nijjar is believed to have been murdered at the behest of the Indian government for asking for a separate homeland of Khalistan.

Close to his first death anniversary, which was on June 18, prominent artists Jarnail Singh and Jennifer Sherif, presented a multimedia joint artwork to the gurdwara officials, amidst Sikh religious slogans raised by those present in the congregation. Nijjar's son Mehtab Singh was also in attendance to receive the gift. 

Singh is a well-known Sikh painter, whereas Sherif is an indigenous educator and beadwork artist.

Sherif wanted to express her gratitude to Nijjar for organizing prayers for the indigenous kids whose remains may have been detected at the former site of the so-called Indian Residential School in Kamloops in June, 2021.

He had invited Sherif to talk about the history of cultural genocide of the indigenous peoples. She wanted to contribute to anything meaningful in his memory. Based on her discussions with Singh, the two decided to come up with a multimedia artwork, which includes Nijjar’s water-colour portrait in an orange shirt recognizing the truth and reconciliation day. Sherif has previously made orange shirt pins, studded the painting with beads.  

Those who spoke at the event included Gurdwara Secretary Gurmeet Singh Toor, BC Sikh Gurdwara Council leader Moninder Singh, eminent TV broadcaster Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, social justice activists and independent journalists Bhupinder Malih, Imtiaz Popat and Gurpreet Singh. They unanimously paid tributes to Nijjar and remembered his legacy for standing up for human rights of everyone, including the First Nations.

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