Turban as Idol and Icon: Personal Reflections on the Gift of Form
Professor Balbinder Singh Bhogal, Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies, Hofstra University
IDOL: What if it is the gaze that creates the idol and not the idol that creates the gaze? What if the gaze that creates the idol can only do so if it becomes fixed – at the expense of other forms? What if the turban is fixed not only by the ignorance and conniving of a global media machine that manufactures terror, as a sign of wayward violence, but also fixed by a gaze internal to the Sikh community as the symbol of absolute good or right?
ICON: What if the turban becomes the finite site upon which the infinite shines? What if the turban as an icon demands the viewer never fix his or her gaze only on the turban as absolute good but proliferate this gesture to view all other forms likewise ad infinitum?What if the Idol and Icon are not two classes of being where one is right and the other is wrong, but two ways of being and perceiving – such that the point of whether something, in this case the turban, is seen as idol or icon depends upon the viewer and his or her engagement? What has the viewer seen?
This free lecture is Organized by SFU Sikh Students Association and sponsored by the Canadian Sikh Study and Teaching Society Vancouver. When: Saturday October 3, 6-8 p.m., at Theater Room 2600, SFU Surrey Campus 250-13450-102 Avenue, Surrey. Refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm. RSVP is recommended due to limited seating. For information or RSVP, contact Gurwinder Singh, Canadian Sikh Study and Teaching Society at (604) 789- 4349 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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