Issues of Sikh Cultural Awareness in America

Chris walked through the process of creating a study for a memorial at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. The understanding of Sikhism in America is limited and this has been a cause for discrimination and violence. In order to foster awareness of the religion and its people, Chris and Harpreet proposed a cultural center and memorial to violence against Sikh’s in America. The talk traced the basic premises of Sikhism through its cultural expressions especially those pertaining to clothing, while walking through the process of creating a memorial.

The memorial took on site specificity as well as universal themes of light and water to relate to the widest possible audience for furthering awareness and peaceful coexistence. Powerful questions resulted in the idea of memorializing the 2012 mass shooting that occurred at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin. The power of the memorials and vigils held after the events would come from shifting the focus of the events to the expression of unity, inspired greatly by the overwhelming show of support that occurred after the shooting.

Memorials, despite their architectural or symbolic intent, are always created in a specific political climate with sensitivities to a complex array of issues. Emotions of those affected collide with the realities of money, fundraising and the needs of a specific community.