Sikh Museum of Australia exhibition showcased at Culture Hub

The colourful history of Woolgoolga’s Punjabi Sikh community is being showcased at Coffs Harbour’s Culture Hub.

 

THE history of Woolgoolga’s Punjabi Sikh community and the importance of the Indian culture to the Coffs Coast area is being highlighted at the Culture Hub’s latest exhibition ‘Early Settlers to Bridal Glamour’.

Punjabi Sikh culture is an important part of the Coffs Coast’s identity, and the new exhibition provides a window into the Woolgoolga community through the personal stories, objects and photographs of local Indian families.

The ‘Sikh Museum of Australia Culture Exhibition: From Early Settlers to Bridal Glamour’ sees the Sikh Heritage Museum of Australia sharing artefacts, interactive displays and insights into how the storylines of local Indian weddings have shifted over time.

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The Sikh Heritage Museum of Australia has welcomed visitors to Woolgoolga since 2019 and preserves the traditional and religious life of the local Punjabi Sikh community.

The new exhibition not only educates the public about local Sikh history, but also immerses audiences into the local Indian culture, allowing them to celebrate stories of marriage and love.

Visitors to the exhibition may feel like they’ve stepped into a Bollywood scene, with colourful draping and a couple’s wedding seat to take selfies.

Photographs of local marriage stories and cultural marriage practices will be on show, including personal stories of how couples met, and a ‘then’ and ‘now’ photo essay.

Working closely with the Sikh Museum, Community Coordinator Sheerien Salindera collaborated with the Culture Hub’s Programs Facilitator for Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and Museum Ashleigh Frost.

Ashleigh recalls being welcomed into the homes of local couples photographed for the exhibition, gaining insights into their marriages and culture.

“We heard stories of love and stories of the hard-working couples who immigrated here and have made an incredibly successful life for themselves, often with big, beautiful families,” explained Ashleigh.

“There is great pride in their families, whether the next generation followed in their parents’ footsteps, continuing the family business or found their own way.

“The best part was the warmth and hospitality in each family’s home, as we turned the pages on old photo albums of their wedding day, or saw some incredible cultural objects from India.”

The free exhibition opens on Friday 23 April and will continue until Saturday 29 May at the Culture Hub, Level One, Coffs Central Shopping Centre.

Alongside the exhibition will be a special program of live music at the Culture Hub after dark, spanning Indian classical music to Bollywood Groove.

On Friday 14 May, Australia’s most dynamic rhythm trio, Circle of Rhythm, will perform their unique sound from Indian instruments.

On Friday 21 May, Indo Jazz Fusion Ensemble will feature the sultry vocals of Sarah Hyland, together with Greg Sheehan, Bobby Singh and local jazz musicians.

For more information or to purchase tickets to these events visit https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/east-attic-sounds-tickets-148713334587.

 

By Emma DARBIN

 

Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and Museum Programs Facilitator Ashleigh Frost visiting local Indian families for the exhibition. Photos: And the Trees Photography.

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