An introduction to the SINGH Project
Indy Hothi, Co-lead of the EY Sikh Network tells us more about the networks support of the incredible ‘SINGH Project’.
The EY Sikh Network (EYSN) aims to raise awareness of the Sikh faith and increased interfaith collaborations within the corporate environment. One of the ways in which the network does this is by concentrating on the Arts. Sikhism has a strong link to the Arts dating back 500 years, including a variety of mediums such as poetry and music. EYSN believes art transcends human barriers such as ethnicity and gender and helps to provide an inclusive viewpoint of the world. EY shares our passion and has been supporting the arts for over 20 years, sponsoring some of the most successful art exhibitions in the UK, most recently the Late Turner Exhibition at Tate Britain.
Photo : Indy Hothi – Co-lead, EY Sikh Network.
To show its commitment to the Arts and artists in the Sikh community, in November 2014 the EYSN also hosted the ‘SINGH Project’ art exhibition created by photographers Amit and Naroop.
The exhibition itself started with humble beginnings as a kickstarter project, due to its unique concept and style it was featured in the Huffington Post and subsequently made its way to an art gallery in Soho.
The exhibition continued to receive wide acclaim as it was featured in the Guardian, The Independent and The Wall Street Journal. The aim of the ‘SINGH Project’ was to capture the diversity of British Sikh men through two prominent symbols, the turban and beard.
The artists believe that the turban and the beard are the most powerful and obvious symbols of the identity of a Sikh man and that the exhibition was a celebration of that identity. For centuries the turban was worn in South East Asia by kings, wealthy landowners and holy men alike. However, Amit and Naroop featured 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, in order to bring the symbolism in to the present day. The EYSN were fortunate enough to have its co-lead, Indy Hothi featured in the exhibition who was introduced to Amit and Naroop whilst on a humanitarian aid trip in Bosnia.
“The artists believe that the turban and the beard are the most powerful and obvious symbols of the identity of a Sikh man and that the exhibition was a celebration of that identity.”
“I think it’s important for us all to reclaim the beard and turban as a symbol to be proud of. There is a lot of confusion in the world about what a turban symbolises; we are a global religion which has always stood for equality and tolerance, be it race, gender or caste,”
Amarjit Singh (above), Partner Sponsor of the EY Sikh Network.
The exhibition was on view at our offices in London Bridge for one week and subsequently we held a presentation exploring the inception, development and execution of the ‘SINGH Project’ from the creator themselves. The aim of the event was to create a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the exhibition, the artists and more importantly their inspiration in creating this exhibition.
Through hosting the ‘SINGH Project’ we looked to provide a platform for such London based artists to explain their work, but also as the focal point was Sikh culture, EYSN felt that it should support such artists who are part of the wider Sikh community.
“The EYSN were fortunate enough to have its co-lead, Indy Hothi featured in the exhibition who was introduced to Amit and Naroop whilst on a humanitarian aid trip in Bosnia.”
Chaz Singh Fliy
Hardeep Singh Kohli
Presenter / Writer / Comedian
“The EY Sikh Network hosting the SINGH Project art exhibition was a perfect example of EY’s commitment to diversity & inclusiveness and also its passion for the Arts. By exploring diversity of a tiny subset of the British population we are able to find such diversity and bring this to life through the inclusive
lens of art.”
Indy Hothi, Co-lead of the EY Sikh Network.
“It was a privilege to be able to support a great initiative by providing a platform for this fantastic collection work of art to be showcased in our office. As a British Sikh, there was a huge sense of pride in walking into the office and being faced with an array of strong Sikh faces each morning. There was a huge amount of interest around the work from the non-Sikh employees of the office and I was able to answer questions around how the art work came about from my conversations with Amit and Naroop, as well as why Sikhs wear a dastaar (turban) and keep our beards,”
Manraj Othi, EY Sikh Network.
“Having The Singh Project displayed at EY was an amazing experience. It was great to see people from diverse backgrounds admiring the photographs not only from an arts perspective, but also for the content and subject matter. It reinforced my belief in the power of photography as one of the most powerful mediums of expression and awareness.”
Amit, Co-creator of the SINGH Project.
“The support from EY was fantastic. They knew the passion we had for the images and gave 100% in ensuring they were displayed to the highest standard and with maximum exposure. The EY client area served as a beautiful venue and seeing the images against the backdrop of the city was stunning.
It was great to see the worlds of art and finance come together to put on an exhibition for everyone to see and we are truly grateful to EY for making this happen.”
Naroop, Co-creator of the SINGH Project.