Jarnail Singh — painter of Punjab’s cultural soul
Artical by Sarbjit Dhaliwal
History has its own way to settle a score. Way back in 1914, Baba Gurdit Singh, who led a shipload of Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims to Canada, was not allowed entry in that country. When Baba Gurdit Singh and others, who were sailing in the Komagata Maru ship, that later became an important emotional symbol in the freedom struggle of India, reached Vancouver, it was turned back by the Canadian authorities from the port on racial grounds. Later, the ship returned to Calcutta via Hong Kong where the then British Police fired at the occupants killing several of them.
Interestingly, now late Baba Gurdit Singh, his colleagues and the ship have become an integral part of the history of Canada. A giant-sized mural of Baba Gurdit Singh and the others in the ship adorns the front wall of the Senior Citizen Housing Unit in Surrey, a British Columbia city where Punjabis live in thousands. The painting of 16x18 feet size is a tribute to the great spirit Baba Gurdit Singh and the others who were unable to step on the Canadian soil.
A famous filmmaker recently announced a film, "Exclusion," on the Komagata Maru episode and she has decided to engage superstar Amitabh Bachchan to play the role of Baba Gurdit Singh.
And the painting has been done by one of the greatest Punjabi artists, Jarnail Singh, who has settled in Surrey after leaving Chandigarh six years ago.Jarnail Singh is a son of late Kirpal Singh, a famed founder artist of the Central Sikh Museum Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. Kirpal Singh has a unique place in the Sikh history as a painter of Anglo-Sikh Wars and other important episodes.
Jarnail Singh, who has captured the soul and beauty of the Punjabis and their culture in a most authentic manner, is on the Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Surrey. He is also a member of the Public Art Advisory Committee there. His works have been recognized by Canadians in a big way. He grew under the shadows of his father, but inspiration to paint the Punjabi culture came from late M.S.Randhawa, a patron of Punjabi art and culture.
Quizzed about any impact of European life on his latest works, Jarnail Singh said his subject matter had changed a little bit. "Earlier, I never painted landscapes.However, of late, I have tried my hand on this subject and it has been recognized in Canada and other countries. The mesmerising natural beauty of British Columbia has influenced me to paint various lakes near Surrey,” he says.
He, however, has one little complaint to make. His father's 10-12 rare paintings on the life of the Sikh Gurus have not been taken by the SGPC though a promise was made in this regard long back.
Traditional Phulkari Jago
Punjabi Wedding Jago night is a celebration initiated by the nankai of bride and groom (maternal families). The nankai arrive at the wedding home of the bride/groom with much fan fare including signing and dancing. The aunt of the bride and groom takes an decorated Jago pot filled with candles/lights, places it on her head and dances. The pot is further passed on to other merrymakers as well.
Jaago literally means “wake-up”. Centuries ago, invitations were not sent to invite people to weddings. Relatives of the bride or groom would go around the village on the night before the wedding day with pots on their head that were decorated with oil candles, singing and dancing as an open invitation to attend the wedding. The candles were used for light as this is before electricity was established! The traditional folk song is “jaago”, so they would encourage people to wake-up and join in the festivities.
Nowadays, Jaago nights are considered an opportunity to be creative. The bride or grooms family, friends and relatives will often dress up in traditional Punjabi clothing or comical outfits. Traditional Punjabi Lehenga buy now on our website www.pinkphulkari.com
The purpose of the night is to have fun and party, so not only will jaagos be carried (pots decorated with lights), decorated sticks (jaago sticks) will be banged on the floor and even a chaj would be banged (see pictures below). The maternal and paternal families will often sing mischievous folk songs to each other.
Jaggo night Check list
Teeyan Da Mela
Teeyan season is about happiness, prosperity and well-being. It is very pious and ominous festival for Indian Women where newly married and young unmarried women gather together to celebrate the beginning of rainy season. Teeyan (also known as Teej) is widely popular in the northern region of India ranging from Punjab Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar to Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.
Teej is a major festival of women. It is celebrated every year in the month of July-August with great enthusiasm and verve. Festival of Teej dedicates the day’s celebration to Goddess Parvati. The festival’s theme is the devotion of women towards their husbands or to-be-husbands. Married and unmarried women adorn themselves to their best and pray for long life of their husband. Though Teej celebrates the advent of monsoon but there is a legend associated with it which makes the day more auspicious.
The word Teeyan originates from Punjab pronounced “tee-aan” meaning celebration of happy and prosperous married life. The festival celebrates the beginning of the rainy season where newly Married women returning to their parental home receive clothes and other gifts from their parents. Usually a fair is organised on this occasion where swings are a common sight. For the rural women specially, this is a time to pamper and enjoy oneself, by buying bangles, bindis, bead necklaces, getting henna tattoos done on hands and feet, and eating sumptuous dishes.
Dressed in their best and decked by traditional ornaments, women gather on this day and look a medley of color and beauty. They are in festive mood to enjoy the events of the day specially organized for them.
Very Talented Bhangra Queen Christine in Our Phulkari Pants
Bhangra by Christine
Song: "Akh Jatti Di" by Shipra Goyal
The phulkari embroidery refers to the vibrant colors. Motifs inspired from nature such as garden, flowers, peacock and various geometrical patterns created on the cloth. Mostly used colors for phulkari are red, yellow, orange, pink, blue and green. The shades of red color are mainly used for the weddings and auspicious occasions by the ladies. The dark shade of color such as blue, black, brown and even white is used in bagh embroidery which is worn by the aged ladies.
Phulkari embroidery is done on clothes like lehenga, dupatta, jackets, top, saree, and shawl. Wide range of phulkari items are available on our website. Dont forget to check it out :)
Hand embroidery in India has a very rich and varied tradition. Inspired by nature and religion – colours, themes and styles vary across different states and regions. The base material varies from net, velvet, cotton, silk to leather. Basis patterns and fabric and the desired texture, different embroidery stitches are chosen for a particular finish and effect.
Traditional Kutch Embroidery:
The Kutch Embroidery is a handicraft and textile signature art tradition of the tribal community of Kutch District in Gujrat, India. Kutch is world renowned for its mirrored embroideries. Most of these were traditionally stitched by village women, for themselves and their families, to create festivity, honor deities, or generate wealth. While embroideries contributed to the substantial economic exchange required for marriage and fulfilled other social obligations which required gifts, unlike most crafts, they were never commercial products.
Embroidery also communicates self and status. Differences in style create and maintain distinctions that identify community, sub-community, and social status within community. The "mirror work" of Kutch is really a myriad of styles, which present a richly textured map of regions and ethnic groups. Each style, a distinct combination of stitches, patterns and colors, and rules for using them, was shaped by historical, socio-economic and cultural factors.
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Brining Back an Old Rich Tradition!
Embroidery technique from the Punjab,India literally means flower work, which was at one time used as the word for embroidery, but in time the word “Phulkari” became restricted to embroidered shawls and head scarfs.
Handmade with Love:
Phulkari embroidery is worked entirely from the reverse of the fabric, leaving long floats on the front to show off as much reflected light and color effects as one could imagine. The amount of work it take to complete one phulkari is from one month to four months.
Shine in the Crowd:
This Wedding Season Wear Rich Traditional Phulkari dupatta. Hand Embroidered on georgette base dupatta can be easily paired up with plain suit and long earrings.
The Perfect Piece:
A perfect gift for those who love collecting unique handmade products. Traditional Punjabi Phulkari is perfect gift for any occasion.
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