Singh Sabha Gurdwara, St George Bristol hosted an art exhibition inspired by Bapu Surat Singh, an 83-year-old Indian from the United States who has been on hunger strike in India for over 400 days calling for the release of Sikh political prisoners. He has been periodically detained by the Indian Police and force-fed during his hunger strike.
Visitors to the #Art4Justice exhibition included Laura Pye, Head of Culture for Bristol City Council and George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, who commented that it was a
“Brilliant, eye-opening exhibition”.
Curator of the exhibition Dr Manjit Kaur Dhinsa said, “This has been a grass roots campaign, and the contributions we have had from artists and poets have been humbling. We have had work from around the world, including the USA, Canada, India and Russia. The exhibition has been supported by all the Bristol Gurdwaras and we are thankful to Parmjit Kaur President of the Gurdwara for allowing us to host it here.”
Artist Jyoti Dhanjal from Hertfordshire said he found out about the human rights campaign after seeing images of Bapu on social media. He said, “I wanted to help his campaign using the following I have on social media. I did a painting based on one of the photos which I thought was very powerful. The strain of his hunger strike shows on his face.”
This was the first time Jyoti has exhibited in Bristol and he added, “Bristol is amazing. There has been a steady flow of people who came to see the exhibition. I will definitely be coming back to the city as there is a real interest in arts and culture and I would like to do some street art or mural work here. It’s been a great experience.”
The strain of his hunger strike shows on his face.
I hope that through this exhibition we can raise awareness and help the prisoners.
Emerging artist Melody Sale from Plymouth said, “I was asked to do a piece for the exhibition by event organiser and Plymouth councillor Chaz Singh. I didn’t know very much about the campaign so it was as much a learning process for me as well as a creative one.
“I have learnt so much, not just about the protest, but also about the Sikh community, that has been amazing. I really want to help and I hope that through this exhibition we can raise awareness and help the prisoners.”