Meditating through his paintings

jaswant-singh.jpg

“Images keep coming to me, as they are waiting for a call, all those I met with while trekking in the Himalayas, Kenyan deep blue nights and watching the moon nights in my village in Punjab.”

I have known Jaswant Singh for the last 10 years, 5 of which I have lived and worked with him in Nairobi, Kenya. I was lucky to have been his neighbour for about two years, during which time I have had the opportunity to know the man behind the divinely guided brush that has spelled out some of the most deeply spiritual paintings I have ever seen. Though he is now settled in Canada, I continue to admire his progress for I believe that the colours and images spring forth from a man who is himself so immersed in the Words of Gurbani, that they are now etched in his yearning soul, and poured out so beautifully in the colours of his canvas.

In a small village ‘Tung’ in the scenic Punjab region of India, where folk arts, crafts and folk poetry are integral parts of daily life, Jaswant was born in 1960 and raised in this idyllic setting. Following tradition, he continued as a youth to develop his talent by choosing his surroundings as his muse. Even at an early age, Jaswant knew that he wanted to pursue his art both academically and professionally. However, he did not know that his combined love of art, nature and people would propel him to travel extensively in search of inspiring subjects.

His travels began rather close to home in Chandigarh, India where he earned a Degree in Painting at the College of Art. During his five years there, he travelled around Punjab and the foothills of the Himalayas where he painted landscapes in oil and watercolor as well as a series of village life sketches. Upon graduation, he lectured for the Government Polytechnic in Ambala City before leaving for Nepal where, in the mid-eighties, he spent several years painting large murals and paintings for prominent fivestar hotels in and around Kathmandu. In the late eighties he went to Kenya where he painted African wildlife in watercolors, acrylic and oil. Since 1999, he has been living and working in the US, before settling in Canada.

Jaswant has exhibited in over 50 solo, group and art exhibits throughout India, Kenya, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. He has received several awards. His paintings are included in the permanent collections of Galleries, Museums and private collectors throughout the world.
anhad-naad.jpgamritvela-sach-naao.jpgawakened.jpgbaba-deep-singh.jpggurh.jpgguru-gobind-singh-1.jpgguru-gobind-singh-2.jpgguru-gobind-singh-3.jpgguru-nanak-1.jpgguru-nanak-2.jpghans.jpgjal-thal-rahya-smai.jpgkal-tat.jpgmoon-watch.jpgsarangi.jpgsinging-tree.jpgsong-of-the-night.jpgwaheguru-dhun-2.jpgwaheguru-dhun.jpg

These paintings with their intensely rich and varied colours give us a glimpse of Jaswant’s unique sensibility. The images, symbols and gestures drawn from the confluence of Sikh Scriptures, Buddhist bodily practices and Sufi folk traditions manage to create an enchanted world suffused with meditative moods. The night is not merely the binary opposite of the Day, it is another time, another world where the devotee, lover and the seeker experience the divine in the cosmos. In the words of Sufi saint Farid ‘only those who are awake can partake the musk of the eternal said to be dispensed at night’. The spontaneous feeling of warmth and contentment radiated by the ‘moons’ and the ‘stars’ in these paintings are constitutive of an experience which not only pleases the eye but also embalms the soul. The healing powers of the colours cannot but embosom the viewer and negate his overwhelming emptiness.

‘I am for somewhere else and for something else’.
-Jaswant Singh

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18 Comments

  1. sifar said,

    July 26, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    FYI

    Sikhs Featured on MSN.com

    chardi kala

  2. taran said,

    July 27, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    beautiful artwork….. awe inspiring……

  3. Raghbir Kaur said,

    July 28, 2006 at 11:42 am

    Dear Virji,

    Where can I get hold of these paintings by Jaswant Singh?

    They are absolutely amazing!

    I also enjoy reading your blog entries and get a lot of inspiration from them. May Satguru always be with you.

    Gurfateh,
    Raghbir Kaur

  4. lakhvir said,

    July 28, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    GuruFateh Ji, my dear sister Raghbir Kaur Ji,

    You could purchase the painting from either http://www.punjabipainter.com or from http://www.sikhphotos.com

    Guru Rakha.

    Regards.

  5. SIKH SPEAK said,

    July 29, 2006 at 11:49 am

    Real cool paintings I must say I LOVE SIKHI ART with a difference!

  6. Prem Singh said,

    August 15, 2006 at 2:08 pm

    Dear Jaswant,
    While browsing i chanced uponto see your paintings.
    I liked the paintings where you have imaginatively combined the words and visuals to convey your religious feelings.
    Prem Singh (Prof)
    Govt. College of Art, Chandigarh

  7. January 26, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Thanks for your comments. Specially S. Prem Singh Artist (one of my teachers)
    Thank you Lucky.

    If you want to see my recent paintings please visit
    http://www.artofjaswant.com

    Jay Jaswant

  8. June 28, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    manu hemkunt sahib wala jo darbar sahib de ander 3 sarup lage han uh de deo ji tuhadi mahrbani hovegi ji guru ghar da swak inderjit singh

  9. December 16, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    some paintings are mere copies of artists sobha singh and others, and text paintings look like generated with computer aid. i m more fond of original work. Hukamran

  10. bahadur said,

    January 17, 2009 at 11:45 am

    waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh

  11. sonia said,

    January 17, 2009 at 11:46 am

    world is very good

  12. gurinder singh said,

    April 1, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    i love these paintings ihave no words to say any thing.

  13. Jaspal Cheema said,

    May 4, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Beautiful paintings! Do you hold copyright for these images? Please advise. Thanks.

    Jaspal Cheema
    Toronto, Canada

  14. albert joseph said,

    September 25, 2009 at 9:22 am

    i ma happy baba g ke dua

  15. July 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Thank you so much for providing such a beautiful introduction to this wonderful art and its creator!!

  16. babajahangir said,

    October 8, 2011 at 9:56 am

    http://www.babajahangir.com
    Philophical Essence
    Know Thyself, that is the most celebrated philosophical essence of human race. Man, whose comprehension has expanded from the minuscule atomic world to the collossum deatils of the galactic bodies and who has exerted great influence upon nature through the mastering of engineering is now facing the more important question of how much had we really learnt about our own self or how much self-control we could exert upon ourselves. In answering this we come close to Sufism which is an applied philosophy in the way to realize and communicate with the core driving force of our very existence.
    Man is made by God in the style of all the other living things making him a slave to his own instinct and tendency. However, he has not also been spared with the potential of overcoming this trend and tendency. He has been blessed with the power to win the incompliable hurdles of our nature. More often than not, we are misled by the tricky six senses playing within us. We have inside us the unbreakable link between fear and inertia. Sufism holds in our hand and takes us away free from the fruitless burden of these senses, namely, sex, pride and fear. It then allows us to settle down with the pure soul living dormant deep down in our heart.
    God exists in every soul that he has laid down to roam upon the earth. Man can attain the humane fullfilment by awakening the omnipotent Master in himself through focusing upon and purifying one’s soul. Because Creator is only the other name of that absolute soul.
    As goes in the Hadith-e-Kudsi: I was always there hiding from your eyes, I desired to express myself and I created All and expressed myself. Creator expresses himself through his Creation. We can find him in the non-living things in the qualitative form and in human beings as the living soul. He who has been successful in waking up that dormant soul is considered an `Olee’ i.e. a friend of God. What he says and what does becomes the saying and the doing of God. He is the possesor of all his attributes. We are advised merely to follow him. Because He is the one who has been trully blessed.
    To ensure this self-purification and self-awakening we need an effective Guru or Murshid or Peer and attain self-knowledge, self-purification and self-satisfaction through sitting for a Morakaba or Meditation under his able guidance. The Prophet himself set an example before us by doing the same for fifteen years at the Cave of Hera.
    Sufism is an effective philsophy. It leads us to a peaceful and pragmatic life on this very dusty earth.

  17. palwinder singh said,

    November 20, 2012 at 8:46 am

    awesome work

  18. Anonymous said,

    August 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    GOD BLESS


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