Piaaray, which means “beloved” is a representational depiction of the “Panj Piaaray” or “Five Beloved” as they may appear in our society today. At the time of the Khalsa inauguration in 1699, the Guru asked for five volunteers to serve the panth and each of these volunteers came from five different backgrounds. In 2018, after centuries of tradition-making, development and changes, the Piaaray in this piece are offered as an example of what the Khalsa volunteers may look like today. A mix of ages and genders, these Piaaray would be focussed on collaborative discussion and consensus-making. The abstract faces are developed from a series of drawings I entitled “The Talking Heads”. The idea behind keeping the faces abstract is to draw focus on intent rather than facial expressions, to imagine a variety of conversations and to use anonymity to represent a larger population. What would today’s Panj Piaaray be discussing? The faces are all turned toward one another and arranged in a circle, without a hierarchy, all equal before their guru, ready to serve the panth.

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