Learn about Sikh culture and history at a unique exhibition in N.J. on Saturday

Sikh artifacts and paintings will be on display, along with martial arts demonstrations, music, food, and community conversations.

Sikh painting

A depiction of Guru Granth Sahib ji, the eternal guru. (Courtesy Kanwar Singh)

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For the first time, a Sikh culture exhibition will be presented on Saturday in New Jersey, and everyone is invited to attend the event.

Jaspreet Singh, community development director for the Sikh Youth Alliance, said the exhibition is being held on Vaisakhi, one of Sikhism’s most prominent holidays, which celebrates the day when Sikhism was born as a collective faith in 1699.

“The purpose of this event is to bring the community together,” Jaspreet Singh said. It is also to showcase some of the art and collections that we have that have been kept in the community and that not many people get to see.”

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He said a vendor from Arkansas is bringing a collection of artifacts dating to the 17th and 18th centuries.

“It’s going to include artifacts that were weapons used in battles,” he said.

The exhibition will also feature a collection of 18th-century coins and an “Art of Punjab” collection of historical paintings by Kanwar Singh.

“It’s an easy way to bring our culture to other audiences,” Kanwar Singh said. “You know there can be more understanding between communities, when you use art you can focus on the things that are the commonalities. The idea is to have a very easy way to understand the Sikh faith, images are very easy that way, you arrange them chronologically so you have a historical aspect, it’s an easy way to bring our culture to other audiences.”

A total of 30 different paintings will be on display. Kanwar Singh’s own art caters to the younger generation of Sikhs so they understand the stories that shaped their religion, faith and way of life.

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During the event, there will also be a presentation on the turban, which Jaspreet Singh says holds a deep, cultural, religious and historical significance.

“Wearing the turban essentially is a mandate as a religious requirement for all Sikh men,” he said. “It represents the values, such as equality, humility, spirituality, so it symbolizes a commitment to the Sikh principles.”

He said visitors will also be able to watch a display of Sikh martial arts, known as Gatka. There will also be music, and a community affairs forum that addresses increasing hate crimes against the community and how the community can find solutions, Jaspreet Singh said. He said this event is a wonderful opportunity to learn about Sikhism and try food from the region for free.

“You can kind of get a whole general understanding of what Sikh history was, from the beginning of its formation to where we stand today,” he said.

The free exhibition takes place at Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar, a Sikh place of worship where followers of the Sikh faith congregate.

The event begins at 11 a.m. at 800 Port Reading Ave., Port Reading, N.J., 07064.

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