Kanwar Singh (Image above)
Created by British photographers Amit and Naroop in their studio over a period of one year, the Singh Project is a celebration of the most powerful and obvious symbols of the identity of a Sikh man – A Turban and a Beard!
In the Sikh culture, the turban (also knows as Dastaar) is an article of faith that represents honour, self-respect, courage, spirituality, and piety, while the beard is considered to be part of the nobility and dignity of their manhood. The word Singh (derived from Sanskrit word Sinha meaning lion) is a mandatory last name for all baptized male Sikhs since 1699, regardless of their geographical or cultural binding.
The photography series features 35 creative portraits of British Sikh men from different walks of life.
“Many religions determine the way their followers look, but none have such a dramatic and definite ‘look’ as Sikhism. And yet, with 30 million Sikhs in the world, there are almost as many ways to wear the turban and beard as there are Sikhs” explains the creative photographer duo Amit and Naroop.
“The men who feature in this project are businessmen, boxers, IT professionals, doctors, fashion stylists, temple volunteers, magicians and a host of other occupations all adapting and interpreting the Sikh traditions in their own way.”
Historically, Sikh men were victims of racism and oppression because of their turbans and beards. The photographs not only highlights the openness in today’s modern, multicultural Britain, but also represents the turban and the beard as symbols of revolution, non-conformity and style.
The Singh Project will be exhibited at The Framers Gallery in London from 3rd – 15th November 2014.
Watch the ‘Making of the Project’ video below:
Roop Singh – Sikh Storyteller
Chaz Singh Fliy – Creative Director
Deep Singh Kohli – Comedian, Writer, Presenter
Daljit Singh Plahe – Watchmaker
Narvir Singh – Filmmaker
Ishtmeet Singh Phull – Student
Magic Singh – Magician
Balbir Singh – Temple Volunteer
Gurbir Singh – Polo Player