‘Kaur Project’ Captures The Beautiful Diversity Among Sikh Women

Source: Huffington Post

Many women who identify as Sikh share at least one thing in common: The name Kaur. It may be a middle or last name, and it isn’t always how they’re identified legally. But it’s a part of their heritage that dates back centuries and something many Sikh women share.

Saji Kaur Sahota and Jessie Kaur Lehail, a photographer-writer duo from British Columbia, Canada, are asking Sikh women what being a Kaur means to them. Their series, called the “Kaur Project,” aims to highlight this common heritage while celebrating the diversity of the women’s experiences.

SAJI KAUR SAHOTA
Chanan Kaur photographed for the “Kaur Project.”

“We have seen a lot of feminist theory incorporated into mainstream media, but there’s been nothing specifically for and about Sikh women,” Lehail, the writer behind the project, told The Huffington Post. “So we thought why not create something ourselves.”

Lehail and Sahota decided the only parameter for the project would be that the women must identify as Sikh and use the name Kaur. Thus far all the women featured in the project are in the B.C. area, though Lehail said they’re hoping to expand to other areas in the near future.

For every woman featured in the “Kaur Project,” Sahota does a photo shoot and Lehail conducts a 20-minute phone interview. The benefit of talking over the phone, the writer said, is that it allows the women to share things they might not otherwise share in person.

Lehail asks two simple questions: “How do you identify yourself as a Kaur” and “What has your journey been so far.” The women take their answers in many different directions, addressing topics like marriage, divorce, having children, losing children, struggling with depression or abuse, managing relationships with parents and in-laws and balancing all the many roles life places on them.

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