Indo-Canadian to hold exhibition on Sikhs with unshorn hair


Toronto: With an aim to showcase a connection between spirituality and unshorn hair in Sikhism, an Indo-Canadian photographer will put on display from October 29 a series of photographs of three Sikh men with long, flowing hair, a media report said.

A photographer from Abbotsford city in Canada, Suvi Bains will exhibit six life-sized portraits of the three Sikh men who posed in their bedrooms with long, unshorn hair, The Province reported on Tuesday.

Unshorn hair are one of the five articles of faith in Sikhism.

The photographs by Bains under ‘Kesh’ project will be displayed at The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford from October 29 to January 3.

Bains said she had never seen a Sikh man – other than her balding grandfather – remove his turban but when she saw a friend loosen his long hair from his turban she decided to explore the Sikh culture in this aspect.

“(It was) so stark and beautiful… stark, gorgeous long hair. I was very touched and wanted to explore,” Bains said.

“Kesh (hair) pushes the boundaries of what is socially acceptable in the Sikh culture,” Bains said.

Bains said her intention was to showcase a “very unique side of our culture”. She said she wanted to promote understanding, spark dialogue, address the “what’s under there” question about the turban, as well as challenge cultural stereotypes.

Although the project is now complete, she said, she faced many obstacles.

She said she began the project with 15 Sikhs but 12 quit because they were not comfortable.

“In our culture, you do not just go in someone else’s room and take these kind of personal photographs. I am a woman coming into their house, in their private rooms and taking these images,” said Bains.