Nirbhai (Nep) Singh Sidhu
An Immeasurable Melody, Medicine for a Nightmare

For his first solo exhibition in Europe, Canadian artist Nep Sidhu presents a body of work embedded in Sikh metaphysics and histories to explore relationships between memory, memorial and the divine. At once personal yet also forged within a strong sense of community, the work is inspired by ancestral bonds and present-day resonances, bringing forward a sense of ritual, kinship and seva (selfless service).

Sidhu’s finely honed works incorporate a wide variety of media including tapestry, metal, earth and video. Sidhu merges his artistic practice with his musical interests and inspirations, including musician and composer Alice Coltrane. Running throughout is the idea of deep rhythms and a sense of both the spiritual and the earthly. While the works invite multiple perspectives and readings, at their core is a desire for healing and awakening; call and response.

Supported by Canada Council for the Arts and the High Commission of Canada in the UK and Henry Moore Foundation

Callout for creative responses to the exhibition

View a reading list of texts available online here

View a list of available books and journal articles here

Unpacking the work: Femininities in Sikhism through the work of Nirbhai ‘Nep’ Singh Sidhu


Writings within Guru Granth Sahib, often referred to as gurbani, meaning spiritual/divine teachings.

Blood memory
Throughout the history of Sikhi, the act of sacrifice has been one of its strongest aspects of survival and acumen against attempted acts of oppression against the Khalsa. The memory towards such a history offers a distinct knowledge of self and retains the very values towards that knowledge.

Guru Granth Sahib

Functions as the holy scripture of Sikhs as well as being considered the last living guru through a collation of hymns, poems, shabads and writings from the 10 Gurus as well as scholars and sufi’s that originated from various places and faiths within India.

Khalsa Panth
The Sikh way of life, from Guru Nanak’s founding principles to the formal establishment of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, in 1699. Followers of the Khalsa Panth follow the codes of conduct laid out by all 10 Gurus as a pathway of spiritual sovereignty.

Operation Blue Star
The attack on the Akal Takhat and the Golden Temple complex during the period June 1 to 6, 1984. The Indian army invaded the Harmandir Sahib complex on the orders of the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. In the attack around 1,600 civilians were killed in the operation, which saw the use of heavy artillery, rockets and tanks being employed. More than 3000 soldiers of the Indian army, from many different states, were killed during their attack while the Sikhs held their Patshahi Dava, the Guru’s bestowed sovereignty.

Operation Woodrose
Following Operation Bluestar, and to stifle retaliation for the attack on The Golden Temple, the Indian Army engaged in widespread false arrests, detainment and torture of Sikhs across the state of Punjab. Mass cremations of Sikhs killed in this violence further suppressed any kind of body count in the calculation towards its crimes against humanity.

Refers to the “Guru’s path” as it indicates the way to salvation obtained by applying the Guru’s word

Community. In the context of Sikhi, sangat denotes any devotional congregation regardless of faith, gender or caste.

The native and preferred terminology to describe the faith, instead of the anglophone Sikhism

Sikh metaphysics
An integration of the spiritual and temporal aspects of Sikhi. The spiritual unity and social vision of the Gurus is explicit throughout the Holy Scripture and its culmination is evidenced through the ontological principle of Oneness.

Spiritual transcendence

A self-awakening


We recognise that aspects of this exhibition – for instance the reference to military action in India in 1984 – may be traumatic for some visitors. Further resources and helplines to assist in dealing with trauma, in particular for those of South Asian ancestry, can be found on the links below.

Further resources, including a recording of Nep Sidhu discussing When My Drums Come Knocking They Watch, and an evolving bibliography giving further information and context surrounding the complex and multiple histories describing the events of 1984, can also be found there.

We will also be running a programme of events and discussions to give the exhibition and the histories that it pertains to further context. Due to the restrictions of COVID-19 the dates of this programme are subject to change – the latest information can be accessed on the link below.

ਅਸੀਂ ਇਹ ਮੰਨਦੇ ਹਾਂ ਕਿ ਇਸ ਪਰਦਰਸ਼ਨੀ ਦੇ ਕੁਝ ਭਾਗ – ਜਿਵੇਂ ਕਿ 1984 ਦੀ ਫੌਜੀ ਕਾਰਵਾਈ ਦਾ ਹਵਾਲਾ – ਕੁਝ ਦੇਖਣ ਵਾਲਿਆਂ ਲਈ ਸਦਮਾ ਭਰਪੂਰ ਹੋਣਗੇ। ਇਸ ਸਦਮੇ ਨਾਲ ਨਿਪਟਣ ਲਈ, ਖਾਸ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਲਈ ਜੋ ਦੱਖਣੀ ਏਸ਼ੀਆ ਦੇ ਮੂਲ ਦੇ ਹਨ, ਸਹਾਇਤਾ ਦੇ ਸੋਮੇ ਤੇ ਫੋਨ ਲਾਈਨ ਤੇ ਹੋਰ ਜਾਣਕਾਰੀ ਹੇਠ ਲਿਖੇ ਸ੍ਰੋਤਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਲਵੋ ਜੀ:

ਨੈਪ (ਨਿਰਭੈ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਿੱਧੂ) ਦੀ ਆਪਣੀ ਕਵਿਤਾ When My Drums Come Knocking They Watch ਬਾਰੇ ਗੱਲਬਾਤ ਕਰਦੇ ਹੋਏ ਦੀ ਰਿਕਾਰਡਿੰਗ, ਉਸਦੀ ਕਿਰਤਾਂ ਦੇ ਆਧਾਰ ਲਈ ਵਰਤੇ ਸ੍ਰੋਤਾਂ ਦੀ ਸੂਚੀ, ਅਤੇ 1984 ਦੀਆਂ ਘਟਨਾਵਾਂ ਦੇ ਗੁੰਝਲਦਾਰ ਤੇ ਬਹੁ ਪੱਖੀ ਇਤਹਾਸ ਦੀ ਹੋਰ ਜਾਣਕਾਰੀ ਲਈ ਇਹ ਹੇਠ ਲਿਖੇ ਸੋਮਿਆਂ ਤੋਂ ਲਾਭ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤ ਕਰੋ:

ਸਾਡੇ ਵੱਲੋਂ, ਵਿਚਾਰ ਗੋਸ਼ਟੀ ਤੇ ਮੰਚਾਂ ਦੀ ਲੜੀ ਚਲਾਈ ਜਾ ਰਹੀ ਹੈ, ਜੋ ਇਸ ਪਰਦਰਸ਼ਨੀ ਨਾਲ ਸਬੰਧਿਤ ਇਤਹਾਸ ਨੂੰ ਵਧੇਰੇ ਸੰਧਰਭ ਤੇ ਆਧਾਰ ਦੇਵੇਗੀ। ਕੋਵਿਡ-19 ਦੇ ਕਾਰਣ ਪੇਸ਼ ਆ ਰਹੀਆਂ ਮੁਸ਼ਕਲਾਂ ਕਾਰਣ ਇਸ ਪ੍ਰੋਗਰਾਮ ਦੀਆਂ ਤਾਰੀਖ਼ਾਂ ਬਦਲ ਹੋਣੀਆਂ ਸੰਭਵ ਹਨ। ਇਸ ਬਾਰੇ ਨਵੀਨਤਮ ਜਾਣਕਾਰੀ ਲਈ ਇਹ ਸੋਮਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਵਰਤੋਂ ਕਰੋ:

Sikh Mental Health initiatives and helplines:

Mental Health Initiative for Panjabi Communities

Directory for locating South Asian therapists:

Counselling for South Asian Women in Glasgow/Edinburgh

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