GRAIN are delighted to be working with Birmingham based artist Roo Dhissou as she develops, researches and creates new work titled A Voyage on Water – The Komagta Maru Revisited.
The new body of work will be made in collaboration with communities associated with the Sikh and Punjabi diaspora in Vancouver through which the artist will develop their socially engaged arts practice. They will embed themselves within the community to formulate a photographic project in relation to their own lived experience, being both British Panjabi and of the Sikh faith.
In April 2023, for a 2-week period Roo Dhissou will immerse themselves within the Sangat (community) at Khalsa Diwan Society (KDS) Ross Street Gurdwara, where they will engage with the diaspora community, Seva (selfless service) team and the museum archive of the Komagata Maru incident 1914. Through socially engaged arts practice they will collaborate with the community to formulate a photographic project surrounding the Sikh and Punjabi diaspora in Vancouver. They will engage with the photographic archive of the 1914 incident present at the Museum as well as contemporary histories through the lives of those working to maintain the Sikh temple currently through practices of Langar (community kitchen and practice of food sharing) and Seva.
The work will explore intergenerational and international migration histories through social gathering, archive and relationships between food and communities. The outcome of this research period and Commission will take shape in the form of a photographic essay, symposium, or video and perhaps a conference where the Artist will share their findings and documentation.
The project will be shared and disseminated in late 2023.
Roo Dhissou is an artist and doctoral researched who works with communities, diasporas and her own histories. Using socially engaged practice, cooking, craft, performance and installation her explores how communal and individual identities are formed. Her practice based PhD is entitled Cultural Dysphoria: exploring British Asian women’s experiences through arts practices. She is the recipient of several awards, most notably the Tate Liverpool Artist Award 2020.
Image credit: Passengers aboard the SS Komagata Maru in 1914.Image: James Luke Quiney fonds/City of Vancouver Archives/AM 15984-:CVA 7-122.