Guru Nanak’s Shabad

My latest project involves creating a painting or a series of paintings inspired by shabad by Guru Nanak in honour of the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak. The work is intended for display at an event put on for the Sikh Research Institute next April.

The idea for the project is pretty much summed up by the following:

Re-imagined, inventive, metaphorical, inspired and inspirational, from Shabad and yet not a mere depiction of a shabad, digestible yet elevating of thought and spirit- not a complete list and still a tall order indeed!
I’ll also be blogging about my process and possibly recording some of my conversations with my muse.
So, with that, here we go!
So far, I’ve been reading different shabads by Guru Nanak (thank you, for your index of shabads by author) and just trying to get a feel for the subject matter and seeing if something inspires me to see a plausible visual representation. Many of the shabads I have come across already include metaphors and I do not want to merely “copy” these concepts by depicting the metaphors. I came up with a preliminary concept but I am noticing that many of the ideas I have look a lot like what a coloured-in editorial comic might look like. Making a socio-political statement is only one goal.
Some general ideas I have so far include:
  • make a socio-political statement
  • marry two metaphors to convey an overlying concept
  • apply a metaphor to 2018 in Canada
  • elevate women
  • say something difficult
  • look pleasing or engaging from a distance and up close
  • multiple ideas tied into one piece

I’ll leave it at there for now and write some more when I think of something new to add.  I’m hoping to hash out a couple of concepts enough to actually write about them. Sketching is easier for me than writing but I’ll need to be able to do both in order to produce masterpieces haha.



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