By Mitan Sidhu
LOS ANGELES: The name SikhLens, founded by Bicky Singh of California, is indicative of what the organization is all about.
It was the horror of the shocking 9/11 attacks that propelled Bicky to take action.
He had been passionate about art for years, and had been a collector, but those horrific attacks ignited a desire in him to do something constructive for his community.
One of the ways he chose to highlight his culture and heritage was by literally setting the stage – putting up a stage to allow people to showcase their creative talents.
He provided funding for students to make short movies on Sikhs and their accomplishments and social issues in various parts of the world.
Once a year the movies are shown at the Chapman University in Los Angeles during a three-day festival that is hosted by SikhLens.
Not only are movies shown, but artists from all walks of life, paying a tribute to Sikh art, are honoured and celebrated.
As a man, Bicky Singh begs to differ in style. He is a contradiction; very shy as a person, but flamboyant in his attire. He likes to make a statement. This year on the opening night of the film festival, Bicky looked and strutted like a cheerful peacock as he greeted the guests and attendees warmly.
He wore a custom-made shirt with peacock feathers printed on it. To top that, he had a peacock feather sticking up from his turban, which bobbed and waved as he moved his head.
The festival is a treat for those interested in Sikh art, music and writings as talented representatives of those fields are the guests of honour. This year Bicky had invited the famous centenarian, “Turbaned-Tornado, record-setting marathon runner Fauja Singh along with the pretty artists known as the “Singh Twins”.
Karen Mac displayed her ceramics that depict Sikh logos in a unique way; Ambi Kalra got to showcase Singh Tartan and his collection of embroidered art.
A 2013 calendar, highlighting Sikhs in Africa was introduced. Dr. I.J. Singh was there to discuss his book, ‘Sikhs Today:
Ideas & Opinions’. Gurmeet K. Sodhi, hostess of a talk show in New York, got up on stage to interview several of the guests. The musicians were a delight and are bound to inspire many others to follow suit.
The Sikhlens festival encourages people to explore their talents and share them with the world.