Pancouver-Logo

Become a Cultural Navigator

Become a Cultural Navigator

New work of art commemorates former gurdwara president Hardeep Singh Nijjar

Gurdwara
Artists Jennifer Sherrif and Jarnail Singh presented the portrait of Hardeep Singh Nijjar to the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara. Photo by Gurpreet Singh.

On National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21), Sikh and Indigenous artists jointly unveiled a multimedia art piece at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey. Jarnail Singh and Jennifer Sherif presented their piece honouring the gurdwara’s deceased former president, Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Nijjar’s son, Mehtab Singh, attended the event.

Jarnail Singh is a well-known painter in Surrey. Sherif is an Indigenous educator and beadwork artist. The portrait features Nijjar in an orange shirt, which is the symbol of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Just over a year ago, Nijjar was murdered outside the gurdwara. The Crown has charged four Indian nationals with the crime.

Last September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada’s security agencies were “pursuing credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government agents and the killing of Nijjar, who was a Canadian citizen.

This came two months after the World Sikh Organization and others had raised the possibility of Indian government involvement. None of the allegations against the accused has been proven in court.

Gurdwara
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was president of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Society when he was murderd on June 18, 2023.

According to the organizers of the Surrey event, Sherif wanted to express gratitude to Nijjar for organizing a prayer event. This came in the wake of a newsworthy discovery on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in 2021. Ground-penetrating radar had detected 215 soil disturbances beneath the surface, which could indicate the existence of human remains in unmarked graves.

After this discovery Nijjar invited Sherif to speak at the prayer service about the cultural genocide of Indigenous people.

Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia and on Instagram @PancouverMedia.

Take Action Now

Pancouver fuels creativity and promotes a more inclusive society. You can contribute to support our mission of shining a spotlight on diverse artists. Donations from within Canada qualify for a tax receipt.

Share this article

Picture of Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

Subscribe

Tags

Related Articles

The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.

The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

© 2023 The Society of We Are Canadians Too Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions

We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.