Artist: Mani Dhaliwal
Title: Soul Bride
Medium: Oil Painting
Commissioner: Manjinder Tiwana
Sikhi, the path of the Guru, describes enlightenment as the game of uniting with the Divine. In explaining this process, the Gurus frequently use the metaphor of a young bride-to-be marrying her husband.
In this metaphor, everyone, regardless of gender, is considered as the bride, hoping to achieve union with her husband, and with that union to experience the bliss of unity. In these writings, the Guru takes on the voice of a woman in their poetry, describing how the fortunate bride attracts the Divine, in the form of the husband.
“The fortunate bride decorates herself, placing a garland of good virtues around her neck.” — Ang 426, Raag Aasaa, written by Guru Amar Das Ji
The jewellery of good qualities, humility, sweet speech, truthfulness, compassion, friendliness, admiration, and loving devotion attracts and binds the husband to the bride.
With these qualities a union is created, and the bliss of that unity is analogous to enlightenment, a letting go of one’s past identity and merging into one’s Beloved. The history of Sikh women is filled with stories of how these qualities were practised by foundational visionaries, women who were involved in fashioning the institutions of the community from the very beginning.
The calendar attempts to visually convey these stories which have long been ignored.
Manmeet Dhaliwal (Mani D) is a student of art. When not at his day job as an Engineer, he is learning and practicing the skills of drawing and painting, and has been doing so for 5 years. He studies mostly online, but also through various in-person classes. His inspirations include Jeffrey Watts, Jeremy Lipking, Anders Zorn, and many others. He prefers painting in oil, and drawing with charcoal. Currently he is focused on portraiture and landscapes, but is always experimenting with various mediums, techniqures, and subject matters, to find his ultimate style. He prefers to focus on the technical side of art, and let the audience determine the message of the works themselves.