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Published on June 16, 2022

The MMFA acquires a unique collection of Sikh art

INDIA, or PAKISTAN, PUNJAB REGION, Illustrated Janamsakhi, Mid-19th c., gouache, powdered gold ink, gold leaf, ink. MMFA, Sikh Art Collection, Narinder Singh and Satinder Kaur Kapany – Sikh Foundation International (U.S.A.). Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

Discover at the MMFA the first ever space dedicated to Sikh art in a Canadian museum. The permanent collection of Sikh art has been installed in the Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery Wing for the Arts of One World, located on the 4th floor of the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion.

The collection includes remarkable works on paper depicting the ten gurus, splendid illuminations representing some of the famous Maharajas of the Sikh Empire (1799-1849) as well as ritual objects and rare minted nanakshahi coins from this illustrious period of artistic effervescence. Poignant publications on the Sikhs during the period of the British Raj (1858-1947) further contextualize and provoke thought on the exoticism of that age. The collection also features several phulkari shawls, which highlight the importance of Punjabi textile tradition.

Numerous works were generously gifted by Narinder Singh Kapany (1926-2020) and Satinder Kaur Kapany (1954-2016) of the Sikh Foundation International (Palo Alto, California), who, along with the Honourable Baljit Singh Chadha and Roshi Chadha, of Montreal, also made a financial contribution.

Their generous donation of this collection – the only one of its kind in Canada – has made it possible to showcase the culture of the Sikh community, which has become an integral part of the North American fabric.

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