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A poetic and sculptural negotiation of growing up as a Punjabi Sikh British woman encountering male bias.

Kaur, Sarbjit (2014) A poetic and sculptural negotiation of growing up as a Punjabi Sikh British woman encountering male bias. Masters thesis (MA), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

In this Master’s by Research study, I look at the social dynamics of male bias in British Punjabi Sikh communities. Using myself as a case study, I draw out personal narratives to reflect on the impact that son preference can have on an individual. I have used an artistic practice-led methodology that entails sculpture and poetry as tools to encounter the emotional and psychological imprints that this bias has left on me. The artworks are also a means to manifest and reflect upon this confrontation outside my own body and mind. A significant part of this research is how to take the findings out into the wider community as the 3-D forms, whether text or sculpture, become transactive once in the public arena. One of the essential findings is that gender bias has affected me in multifarious ways. There is a disparity between the egalitarian normative ideas pertaining to Sikh philosophy and the operative beliefs practiced culturally1. Through this inquiry, I have also recognised the importance of looking at this issue on a personal level as it has inhibited my practice as an artist. It became apparent that just by depicting images of Sikh women in herstory, was not enough to engender empowerment and did not reflect egalitarian attitudes. What was curious to learn was a subjective inquiry using art was powerful in accessing the impact of this male bias and was a means that resonated with other girls and women, who like me, have suffered and are suffering the consequences of this gender bias in UK Punjabi Sikh communities.

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