ART: EXHIBITION CONCEPTS
I SEE NO STRANGER: EARLY SIKH ART AND DEVOTION
SEPTEMBER 16, 2006 - JANUARY 27, 2007
RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART
- Being Is One (Ek Om Kar): In 1469, a boy called Nanak was born into a Hindu family some forty miles from Lahore. He grew up to proclaim a message revealed to him by God, beginning with the simple statement: “There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim,” meaning all are equal before God, regardless of caste or creed. He traveled from one village to another, his inspired words attracting followers known as Sikhs (from Shishya, or “disciple”). He was their Guru, and he taught that there is only one God, who is the abstract principle of truth.
The life and teachings of Guru Nanak, Janamsakhis, in drawing and painting, using two major painted sets (Chandigarh and Kapany). Janamsakhi drawings from Chandigarh allow for exploration of the artistic process and workshop traditions that produced these paintings for Sikh patrons. This section included narratives selected for visual interest and core teachings.
- A Series Of Torches From A Single Flame: Before Guru Nanak died in 1539, he appointed Angad as his successor, beginning a line of spiritual descent that ended with the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh. Guru Gobind Singh passed the succession to the Guru Granth Sahib, or Adi Granth, the Holy Book of Sikhism, which thus became the eternal Guru. The growth of early Sikhism will be shown in paintings of the Gurus – who, though said to be one, had eventful individual histories.
- The Guru Eternal: The Written Word: The collected sayings of Nanak in the Adi Granth and – as icon and guru— in its vocalization as Paradise: “Paradise is where your poetry is sung.” A canopy and the implements surrounding the display of the book (chauri, morchaal, rumal, etc.) will be installed in the gallery, and accompanied by photographs of the illuminated Bagrain Adi Granth on a monitor in the gallery near the installation. The installation included musical instruments.
- The Art Of Life: On March 30, 1699, Guru Gobind Singh (the 10th Guru) baptized his followers at Anandpur in a ceremony initiating the Khalsa, or “Fellowship of the Pure.” From this time, the outward emblems of Sikhism were adopted and, to this day, identify millions of Sikhs all over the world. Works collected in this section reflect the skills and renown of Sikh craftsmen and women in textiles, objects of everyday life, and metalwork. Drawings by Sikh artists from a series in Chandigarh were hung nearby cases with objects of Sikh manufacture.