Artist: Sunroop Kaur, US
Title: Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Commissioner: Aneesh Mann
During the 1520s, the bloodthirsty conquest of Babur, the founding emperor of the Mughal empire, had reached the Panjab region of India.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhi, bore witness to the cruelty from the invasion of Babur. The Guru shared his account of this horror in four shabads which are collectively known as the Baburvani. No one was safe from the dark cloud of Babur as his invasions brought suffering and death to all no matter their beliefs or religion.
Even Guru Nanak was imprisoned under the rule of the Emperor. Despite being jailed and forced to undertake harsh labour, Guru Ji remained resolute and continued to sing kirtan and do simran. Guru Ji fearlessly criticised Babur, which ultimately led the emperor to reflect upon his actions, and in remorse free Guru Nanak from prison.
Prophesying the longevity of the empire, Guru Nanak ordered Babur to rule with justice and mercy.


Sunroop Kaur

Sunroop Kaur is a visual artist originally from Calgary, Alberta who received her B.F.A from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2019. Kaur’s work functions in a way similar to an ecosystem in which cultural cultivation and exchange are visualized. She uses her practice as a vessel to transport critical conversations about identity, race, gender, culture, and inherited art histories (Italian Baroque + Classical Schools of Indian Miniature). As a first-generation Indo-Canadian who has never visited India, she struggles with the layered complexity of her own identity and feelings of displacement. Kaur’s work borrows from Western and Eastern iconography to create ethereal spaces, where the duality of her identity may find reconciliation. These interdisciplinary concepts are allowed to converge, transform, and generate dialogue, within the Sikh Diaspora. Kaur has been part of many national and international group exhibitions.

Last summer she had the opportunity to be part of the Vancouver Mural Festival and was one of the main artists that worked on the federal Harry Steven’s building. The building was unnamed in response to the mural and its tragic history concerning the Komagata Maru incident of 1914. Kaur also participated in the Shumka Satellite and SPACE Residency in 2019. Her recent art collaboration with the City of Vancouver is installed at 20 different locations around the city. Currently, Kaur is attending a classical atelier to further her education in the historical painting of the Baroque period and preparing for her solo show next spring.