Making it as a Sikh woman in the art world is not easy. There’s the professional glass ceiling, family expectations, cultural norms, and a lack of precedence. But despite these challenges, Sikh women are making a name for themselves through their phenomenal skill and intriguing content. Through their artistic prowess they are able to visually communicate important social issues, Sikh issues and women’s issues. Here are 15 talented Sikh women artists you should know about, follow, & support!
1. Ceramics & Watercolor : Japneet Kaur
“My work is influenced by rich ecosystems and it derives inspiration from the rich environments where humans, plants, animals and birds warp and weft into each other, weaving intricate tapestries, none separated from the other. Through my creative process, I also explore and try to understand the complex nature of migrations and displacements, including my own,” said Japneet Kaur. See more of her art on her Instagram and her blog.
2. Illustrator: Baljinder Kaur
“Baljinder enjoys observing, exploring and expressing the simple joys and often seemingly ordinary details of life around her, through watercolour and mixed-media. She has a particular interest in children’s picture books and is currently working on one, whilst sipping tea and nibbling on soggy cookies,” from BaljinderKaur.com. See more of her art on her webpage and her Instagram.
3. Sculptor: Anoop Caur Virk
“As a Toronto born and raised, Sikh artist, my work takes a critical view of social, political, and cultural issues today. Having explored a variety of mediums and styles in drawing, painting, and sculpting I have found my niche as a sculptor. I have experience in and feel most comfortable working in three dimensions, with a wide variety of mediums such as clay, plaster, wire, wood, and fabric. My work has been displayed at several local and international community events and I’ve also hosted workshops at summer camps. I currently study at the Ontario College of Art & Design, majoring in Sculpture and Installation,” said Anoop Caur Virk. See more of her art on her Facebook page and her Instagram.
4. Fabric Artist: GK Kaur
“I am a self taught designer and love working with fabrics. It all began with a needle in my childhood and serves as the foundation for my brand,” said Gurdip Kaur. Visit her Etsy store, Amarrose, to see more of her work.
5. Calligrapher: Rupy Kaur Cheema Tut
“Rupy C. Tut is a San Francisco based visual artist exploring the themes of identity and displacement through her paintings. Rupy retains a strong connection to her Punjabi Sikh background and it continues to inspire and guide her artwork. Her art depicts the decorative Mughal Miniature style and integrates her experience with her own immigration to the United States as a pre-teen,” from Art By Rupy. See more of her art on her website, her Facebook page and her Instagram.
6. Painter: Keerat Kaur
“Keerat Kaur is a painter and illustrator who draws her creativity from indic philosophies and culture. she creates surrealist imagery with underlying themes of spirituality and macabre, while employing an aesthetic that evokes a heavy, dream-like quality,” from Keerat-Kaur.com. See more of her art work on her website and her Instagram.
7. Painter: Dilmeet Kaur
“Dilmeet Kaur is a Scottish Sikh artist who uses inspiration from Gurbaani and Sikh heritage to create her artwork. The detail of pattern designs often seen in the work by Dilmeet Kaur originates from Sikh architecture such as Siri Harmandir Sahib. This style of artwork is engraved on the walls of many Gurdwaras and is at the heart of the works produced by Dilmeet Kaur. Many artwork pieces also contain the writings of Sikh gurus through a calligraphic style and decorated with floral paintings. These writings are translations in english of Gurbaani to allow both Sikh and non Sikhs to connect to the essence of the Sikh teachings.Through this artwork, Dilmeet Kaur not only hopes to create beautiful pieces of art, but to also share the understanding of our Gurus words,” from Dilmeet’s website. See more of her art on her website, her Instagram, and her Facebook page.
8. Painters: Singh Twins
The Singh Twins are internationally acclaimed British artists whose award winning paintings explore universal social and political issues. They are “…constituting a unique genre in British Art and for initiating a new movement in the revival of the Indian miniature tradition within modern art practice. Describing their work as Past – Modern, their work engages with important areas of critical debate – challenging existing stereotypes and redefining generally accepted, narrow perceptions of heritage and identity in art and society. Combining elements from Western and Eastern aesthetics they assert the value of traditional and non European art forms to the continuing development of Contemporary Art practice – exploring cultural, social and political issues of global significance within a highly decorative, often witty and symbolic style which has universal appeal and transcends cultural barriers,” from the Singh Twins website.
9. Painter: Jeevna Bajaj
A counseling psychologist at English teacher by day, Jeevna is a painter in her free time. You can see her work on her Instagram where her pug dog, named Patka, often makes an appearance with her art.
10. Graphic Designers: Neela Collective
Together, Biney Kaur, Sargun Kaur, Japneet Kaur make up the Neela Collective, an art group in the Bay Area of California.
For these young women, art has always been a part of their lives, engaging in and exploring it both privately and publicly. “Between the three of us, we’ve done our fair share of exploring photography, drawing, painting, tagging, crafting, pottery, sewing, embroidery, typography, knitting, writing, and everything in between,” said the Kaurs. “While we may not be professional artists, each of us has been conscious to routinely take time out of our lives to create. Coming together and recognizing this mutual love, we then pushed each other to indulge and nurture this creativity,” they said. You can see their art on their website and Instagram.
11. Calligrapher: Kamaljeet Kaur
“Kamaljeet has a natural air for English and Hindi calligraphy but it is Punjabi gurbani calligraphy in which she has excelled. Guru Granth sahib is her inspiration and strength. No wonder, working with the holy text, she feels is like worship for her,” from her website.
12. Illustrator: Dilrani Kaur
“Dilrani Kaur is a multi-disciplinary artist born in the North of England and recently relocated to Dallas, whose work encompasses dance, music and visual art. From a young age, she has been training in Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Santoor and continues to be involved in regular performances, workshops and projects. Dilrani’s art grew from her interest in mehndi and she now creates work on paper, the body and other mediums. Inspired by symmetry, many of her designs include themes of faith, nature and abstract aesthetics. As well as this, she has professional experience in digital media, videography and image design software. Dilrani is available for tattoo designs, commissions and collaborations.”
13. Painter & Interior: Designer Jasmeet Kaur
Jasmeet Kaur was raised in New Delhi and discovered a creative passion since early childhood. She formally trained at NIFT in textile designing and hand painted fabrics for 4 years, and later returned as visiting faculty. She worked for several years in the field of interior design and started her own company, Kaur Competency LLC, working with residential homes and boutique offices. In her spare time she loves to blend art and Baani together: art that stirs the soul and Baani that feeds the soul. You can see her art on her website and her interior design work here and here.
14. Illustrator: Angela Aujla
15. Illustrator: Gurpreet Birk
“My name is Birkidy and I create art whilst attending university for my Bachelors of Science. My interests include medicine & health science, running, painting & food,” from Etsy. You can see her art on her Instagram and her Etsy shop.
Do you know of Sikh women artists not featured here? Let us know via info(at)KaurLife.org! We would love to write about them! Stay tuned for Part 2!
Feature image of Rupy Kaur Cheema Tut by Quincy Stamper. Asian Art Museum, 2016.