A new Sikh Art Exhibition is to be held in New York later this year, to spread awareness on the Sikh identity, and help Americans stop profiling the community negatively because of their beard and turban identities. Importantly, even after over a decade and half since 9/11 world trade center attack in the US, the US Sikhs feel the profiling, bigotry and backlash than the average American because of the two symbols of their distinct identity—beard and turban.
To dispel this misperception and spread necessary awareness about the religion, a new Sikh art exhibit will be held in New York later this year to showcase the pride taken by the community in their religious and cultural practices. The UK based photographers Amit and Naroop will click portraits of Sikh Americans under ‘The Sikh Project’ initiated by the Sikh Coalition that is the largest Sikh American advocacy and community development organisation in the US, and works towards the realisation of civil and human rights for all people, particularly the Sikhs.
Speaking about how the idea of 'The Sikh Project' came to them, the two photographers said it was in 2013 that it struck them when they "noticed men of different backgrounds and ages growing beards for fashion, as part of their identity". The two photographers also said they wanted to show America that their customs have been a part of the Sikh identity for hundreds of years.
According to Coalition’s executive director, Sapreet Kaur, “The goal with bringing this project to the United States is the opportunity to combat bigotry by sharing a positive narrative of Sikhs in America through portraits and the incredible stories behind them”.
These portraits will be unveiled around the 15th anniversary of 9/11. The photography exhibit will include both turbaned men and women, and will feature a combination of iconic Sikh Americans and a few selected winners.