A Visit with Nep Sidhu at Mercer Union

Art can stand on its own and touch your soul .Learning the art’s backstory and examining the layers of symbolism can often make art sing. Yesterday, Nep Sidhu toured the TFVA through his first solo exhibition: Medicine for a Nightmare (They Called, We Responded) at Mercer Union.  Just the day before, Nep had hosted 100 schoolchildren bussed in from Brampton. It is my guess that his works, as well as his heartfelt words, captured the same range of emotions from both audiences, at complete opposite ends of the age spectrum.

Nep is a storyteller. He creates art to tell his story of his Sikh people. His stories keep history alive. This exhibition tells us the story about operation Blue Star, the massacre orchestrated by the Indian government against the Sikh resistance fighters at the Golden Temple from June 1-8, 1984. The pain and destruction live on through Nep’s works.

The exhibition consists of two massive tapestries, several wearable head pieces complete with jewelry, a replica of the Golden Temple and a photograph of a mound of just washed tin plates from a kitchen for all.

Nep’s Golden Temple is a three thousand pound sculpture. He surrounds his sculpted temple with actual soil from the real temple … Don’t ask!

Sikh scriptures are painstakingly engraved in the smallest pieces of carved metal jewelry. Look very closely at everything Nep creates.

Nep is keeping history alive. He shares his message through his painstaking work. He weaves his tapestries and his stories with skill, attention to detail, and love.

Nep was our Artist Prize Winner in 2017 and he received TFVA Project Support for his installation as part of the opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto in 2018.

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