“All my work is about this community”: the artist draws inspiration from the Sikh-Punjabi diaspora

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Gurpreet Sehra is comfortable with things that are not comfortable.

The Winnipeg artist does just that in one of his new pieces, Caste – a painting that details the different castes on a circa 1780 map of the Punjab region of India.

“It’s a way of talking about things in society that aren’t necessarily easy to talk about,” said Sehra, who is a first-generation Sikh-Punjabi Canadian.

This identity and her experiences inform Sehra’s work in printmaking, painting, video art and sculpture, she said.

“All my work is about this community.”

Sehra’s Caste painting details the various castes in a circa 1780 map of the Punjab region of India. (Sodhi Creative Films)

Sehra’s artistic life is the subject of a new short by Winnipeg filmmaker Mandeep Sodhi.

The Sehra film is the latest short in Our Culture, Our Art, Sodhi’s four-part video series featuring South Asian artists in Manitoba, created for CBC Manitoba’s Creator Network.

The four-part series was produced in conjunction with CBC Manitoba’s Remote Newsroom Office and Community Space at Garden City Center in late 2021.

You can see the first film, about artist Azka Ahmed and his journey from spoken word poet to visual artist, here.

In the second film in the series, Seema Goel explains how a lie she told a hitchhiker led her on a lifelong path to art. You can see his short film here.

And in the third film, which you can watch here, filmmaker sisters Saira and Nilufer Rahman reminisce about their father’s passion for storytelling.


About the filmmaker

Mandeep Sodhi is a screenwriter, cinematographer and director based in Winnipeg since 2011. He has over 13 years of experience in the film industry in India, the United States and Canada.

Mandeep Sodhi is a screenwriter, cinematographer and director based in Winnipeg since 2011. (Submitted by Mandeep Sodhi)

He has won two national awards in India for his docudramas, and his music videos have been nominated for national and international Music Awards in India, Asia and Sierra Leone.

In 2015, Mandeep won the ACTRA Manitoba Golden Boy Awards for the project initiated by a most outstanding member for his short film The perfect little plan.

He has written and directed for television and has had his works aired on Bell MTS, Super Channel and various on-demand platforms. His film company is Sodhi Creative Films.

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