Early Settlers to Bridal Glamour – Punjabi Sikh Culture in the Spotlight

A new exhibition opening at the Culture Hub in Coffs Central puts Punjabi Sikh culture in the spotlight. An important part of Coffs Coast’s identity, Early Settlers to Bridal Glamour will provide a window into the Woolgoolga community through personal stories, objects and photos.

As part of the exhibition, the Sikh Heritage Museum of Australia are sharing artefacts and interactive displays. Early Settlers to Bridal Glamour will also share insights into how the storylines of local Indian weddings have shifted over time.

Close up of photos in an old album

Local Punjabi Sikh History

The Sikh Heritage Museum of Australia has welcomed visitors to Woolgoolga since 2019. It preserves the traditional and religious life of the local Punjabi Sikh community. Visitors to the Culture Hub might feel like they’ve stepped into a Bollywood scene, with colourful draping and a couple’s wedding seat to take selfies.

Indian wedding photos in an old album

Sharing Stories

Working closely with the Sikh Museum, Community coordinator Sheerien Salindera collaborated with Culture Hub’s Ashleigh Frost, Programs Facilitator for Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and Museum. Ashleigh recalls being welcomed into the homes of local couples photographed for the exhibition, gaining insights into their marriages and culture.

Early Settlers to Bridal Glamour – Punjabi Sikh Culture in the Spotlight

“We heard stories of love and stories of the hard-working couples who immigrated here and have made an incredibly successful life for themselves, often with big, beautiful families,” explains Ashleigh.

“There is great pride in their families, whether the next generation followed in their parents’ footsteps, continuing the family business or found their own way.”

Close up of a pink, blue and gold patterned Indian sari

Alongside the exhibition will be a special program of live music at the Culture Hub after dark, spanning Indian classical to Bollywood Groove. On Friday 14 May, Australia’s most dynamic rhythm trio, Circle of Rhythm, will perform their unique sound from Indian instruments. While on Friday 21 May, Indo Jazz Fusion Ensemble will feature the sultry vocals of Sarah Hyland, together with Greg Sheehan, Bobby Singh and local Jazz musos.

Sikh Museum of Australia Cultural Exhibition: From Early Settlers to Bridal Glamour Friday April 23 – Saturday May 29 at the Culture Hub – Level 1 Coffs Central. Free and all welcome.

Culture Hub: Coffs Harbour Libraries, Museum and Gallery Libraries in association with Coffs Central. Community takeovers are for, about and by the community delivered through targeted invites to groups and individuals, with tailored support from the Culture Hub team.

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