The SASI is proud to be a community partner with the Surrey Art Gallery as it showcases its latest exhibit titled ‘Rajesh Vohra: Everyday Monuments.’ According to the Surrey of Art Gallery’s website, “Mumbai-based photographer Rajesh Vora documents domestic sculptures mounted on rooftops in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab that tell a story of identity, diaspora, family, and culture. Made from rebar, wire mesh, cement, and paint, many of these intriguing objects serve as functional water tanks.
This phenomenon is distinct to Punjabi villages, gaining popularity in the 1980s. At that time, local artists precast these sculptures from a mould that usually took the form of airplanes, falcons, and footballs. Over the years, artists have custom fabricated the sculptures for each homeowner, resulting in more diverse and elaborate works of art. Visitors will see more than one hundred of these sculptures in Rajesh Vora: Everyday Monuments. Birds, soccer balls, airliners, automobiles, army tanks, weightlifters, pressure cookers, lions, and horses are among the varied objects.
While Greater Vancouver has a Punjabi population established more than a century ago, it was during the latter half of the twentieth century that an increasing number of Punjabi villagers migrated to other parts of the world. Canada was one of their chosen destinations. Many return to India for seasonal visits, keeping close ties with families remaining in the villages and helping to finance the making of these houses. The houses themselves are an intricate mix of various styles, genres, and historical periods. Several stories high, they signal a shift from the traditional one-story courtyard-style house. Together, the unique houses with their rooftop embellishments break with conventional design boundaries. They show how art, architecture, and everyday life meld together. Vora’s photographs are an important record of this cultural expression of the Punjab that is all but unknown beyond India.”
Join SASI Director Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains in conversation with, and for an online tour with exhibit curator Keith Wallace. This tour is available on the Surrey of Art Gallery’s YouTube channel.
The exhibit is available for viewing until May 29th, 2022.