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Sikhlens: Destination S
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Sikhlens: Sikh Arts & Film Festival

The Sikhlens: Sikh Arts & Film Festival is our premier event.  It has been held in the Southern California area for the last twenty-five years and on the campus of Chapman University for the last ten years. Our website lists the many films that were screened at our last festivals in November. Several of the films, such as Nanak Naam Jahaz Hai and Peering Soul, focused on Guru Nanak and his message of Oneness. This year, for the first time, the festival was held virtually on our Sikhlens YouTube channel

Sikh Art Exhibition

During the first two days of our Sikhlens: Sikh Arts & Film Festival we also displayed the artwork of several artists. The artists and their work were introduced to our patrons after the keynote speech in the Leatherby Libraries, and on Opening Night. A few of the artists presented works in honor of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. These works were also available for sale.

Our annual film festival was also the launch of a 60-day Sikh art exhibition open to the public in the Leatherby Libraries. Last year’s exhibit highlighted photos taken by Amardeep Singh as he visited Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, and Sufi sites across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. This and past exhibitions have now been seen by thousands of students coming to study in the library. Books, paintings, artifacts, and historical anecdotes are often included in these fascinating annual exhibits. After its conclusion at the Chapman University Leatherby Libraries, the exhibit will be put on display at Chapman University’s Rinker Campus in Irvine, California. After several months on display there, the exhibit can travel on loan to other institutions before returning to the Library’s permanent collection. We are working to expand permanent Sikh collections with books, artifacts, and private, and antiquarian collections. This year’s art exhibit was launched virtually on our Sikhlens YouTube channel.

Sikh Art Calendar

The Sikh Art Calendar is a Sikhlens tradition, with many members of the community collecting them each year for the beautiful artwork they contain. The theme of this year’s calendar is “The Comic Art of Vishavjit Singh”. We have limited supplies so contact if you are interested in obtaining one.

Other Sikhlens Programs

Sikhlens Scholar Program

The Sikhlens Scholar program assists aspiring filmmakers with counseling and admission into film schools, are well as providing them with financial and moral support. Although most students come to us as they are ready to enter film school, we try to encourage younger students through the Sikhlens Digital Voices Program (SDVP). In recent years, we have helped over a dozen students. This level of interest indicates that there is still a lot of work to be done to expose the community to filmmaking, and careers in film.  We are creating an ecosystem of Sikh scholars to make our community aware of the opportunities in filmmaking and other creative arts. Sikhlens has also provided funding to filmmakers in India.

Sikhlens Equipment Grant

Sikhlens recently acquired over $250,000 of state-of-the-art film-making equipment. The purpose of the grant is to loan equipment (worth approximately $50,00 in rental value) to undergraduate and graduate film students In the United States for two to three weeks. The only stipulation is that the student must create a Sikh-centric film. Notification of the grant program has been submitted to all local film schools and it has gathered significant attention. The grant has already provided the equipment for “The Cheez that Binds Us” about Sikh cheese making in Italy, which was premiered at our November film festival.

Fish Interfaith Center (Chapman University)

Sikhlens also has a strong relationship with the Fish Interfaith Center on the Chapman campus. We assist in funding the World Religion Travel class to India as well as sponsoring students to attend the World Religions Conference held annually in Canada. The center also hosts our annual Vaisakhi Celebration in April, the Patron’s Dinner for the annual Sikhlens: Sikh Arts & Film Festival and occasional speakers from our Sikh Speaker Series. Students at the center are also involved in providing Langar twice a year.

Sikh Speaker Series

We have periodically sponsored speakers who present on Sikh culture, history, literature and art. 

Permanent Sikhlens Endowments

The following endowments exist through the generosity of their donors, and the assistance of Sikhlens. The Sikh Story Room, in high demand in the Leatherby Libraries, was endowed by Mr. Gurvindra Suri. Sikh artifacts inside the Sikh story room were endowed by the Sikhlens Foundation. The Sikh Sculptural Cabinet in the Fish Interfaith Center was endowed by Dr. Piara Singh and the Sikh symbol inside the prayer room was endowed by the Sikhlens Foundation. The Jusdeep Sethi Legacy Scholarship at the Chapman School of Pharmacy was endowed by Gurjeet and Mohinder Sethi. The Digital Commons in the Leatherby Libraries archives raw footage and films of Sikh heritage for posterity and has been endowed by the Sikhlens Foundation.