On January 15, 2020 the New Westminster Museum and Archives opened its exhibition, An Ocean of Peace: 100 Years of Sikhs in New Westminster. This new exhibition was developed in partnership with Khalsa Diwan Society New Westminster. The opening reception, at 6 pm on the third floor of the Anvil Centre, featured tours and refreshments. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition which was scheduled to run until May 31, 2020, stayed open until December 2020.
In March 2019, Queensborough's Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar celebrated its 100th anniversary. This exhibition explores and celebrates the Sikh community of New Westminster and their relationship to their place of worship - the spiritual, political, and social centre of the community.
"This exhibition is the result of an important partnership between the City, the Gurdwara, and the community,” says guest curator Paneet Singh. “It's important that these stories are being shared by the community and that the community is in control of the narrative that is about a place with which they have such a deep and intimate relationship. For these stories to be centralized in a setting like the New Westminster Museum, outside of the walls of the Gurdwara, alongside the popular narratives of the city's history, provides a meaningful opportunity for sharing and community-building."
"This is a generational story," says guest curator Naveen Girn. "From images and documents related to the history of Bhai Mewa Singh that have never been publicly displayed, to ongoing stories of service and volunteerism, this exhibition is an opportunity to reflect on the history of Sukh Sagar Gurdwara and the South Asian community's impact on New Westminster."
Graphic designed by popular illustrator Anu Chouhan, this exhibition is the result of over a year-long process of community consultations, conversations, one-on-one interviews, and oral history collection. The result is an immersive experience capturing the sights and sounds of Gurdwara life, and an exploration of themes of belonging, spirituality, identity, community-building, celebration, and activism.
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