Kes: An Art Exploration

By Harleen Kaur & Rasna Kaur


“Kes” is the first set in an art series called “Kakaars.” “Kakaars,” is a poetry and photo series uncovering the identity of the Sikh female. Through Harleen’s creative writing and Rasna’s visual storytelling, we hope to show another side of what the Kaur identity means to us. While our own experiences have undoubtedly impacted our understanding of the project, we hope that each and every Kaur can also bring her narrative to the series. Most importantly, this project is not only about our own experiences as Kaurs, but strives to empower all Sikh females to create an understanding for themselves.


Make sure to check back each week for a new installment of the “Kakaars” series!












Kes(ki): Resilience


Long, black waves

Flow down and down and down.

Waves part with the teeth of a comb,

But come together again

Like the diasporic separation of my own



I watch the black and brown

Fall to the ground

Like leaves fall from their

Branches, from their

Roots, calling it quits before the

Winter and the world freeze over


Feeling the strength within each hair

The collective strength of my hair

My kes

Rolling it together, folding it inwards

Making it stronger and more resistant

To the questions we will face

The challenges we will overcome

My roots


My hair wrapped up


In layers of fabric

Each a representative for the sacrifices made

For me

For you

For Sikhs


The mirror shows a friend

And a stranger

Someone unknown to you

Perhaps one you should fear

The dastaar I see as fabric of my identity

You have been taught to fear as a turban of resistance

A symbol of terror

A sign of pain


My keski has made you fear me

Knock me down and keep me down

Denying my lineage

And yet, I still rise


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