The words ‘Khalsa’ and the true ‘Spirit of a Sikh’ come to mind after having had the privilege and honour of meeting Ravi Singh in Ottawa at the “My Master’s Presence” Exhibition. What a courageous, joyful, charming hilarious and down to earth person he is, with the largesse of his spirit shining through.

His enthusiasm was really infectious as he eagerly began this Facebook Live video, inviting people to buy the art and also support Khalsa Aid International. It already has over 121K views – I’m thoroughly overwhelmed by all the love. Check out the video and please feel free to share!!

https://www.facebook.com/1563049377248234/videos/1944411485778686/

https://www.facebook.com/1563049377248234/videos/1944411485778686/

From the bottom of my heart, @Ravi Singh,  I am very very grateful for all your loving support .

Thank you  Mukhbir Singh (President of World Sikh Organisation) for coming out to support this event!

A special thank you to:

Hon Nathalie Des Rosiers, MPP (Ottawa—Vanier)

Love and gratitude for the photography and address from Peter Stockland, and Daniel Richardsen on behalf of Cardus.  A grand thank youto our host, Rasha Al-Tatta who was phenomenal in the smooth running of the events and her lovely words. LAst but not least, all this could not have been possible without the loving help of all the volunteers both from the Ottawa Sikh Heritage Committee , Ottawa Sangat and my family.

At one point the elevator broke – they carried all the paintings op 7 flights of stairs!!!

Your encouragement and love was pivotal in bringing this event together. The multifaith atmosphere and representation at Cardus was heartwarming, full of loving vibrations, encouraging and it was a delight to meet all that attended.

Thank you! Thank you!

Thank you for your kind words and support!!

With immense love, respect and gratitude, God Bless!!!

Juss

Some memories:

This weekend our Convivium team is hosting artist Juss Rani Kaur, transforming our office into a showcase for her “Reflective Mantra Art Series” as part of Sikh Heritage Month.

Publisher Peter Stockland reports on Kaur’s story and her connection to the Divine.

PETER STOCKLAND 

Senior Writer with and publisher of Convivium. Prior to joining Cardus, he was vice-president of English-language magazines for Readers’ Digest Magazines Canada Ltd.
 
 

As part of a think tank dedicated to renewing North American social architecture, the Ottawa office of Cardus is not everyone’s idea of a show place for religious art.

But then as a mother of three adult children, teacher, Oxford PhD, and volunteer liaison in McGill University’s Office of Religious and Spiritual LifeJuss Rani Kaur might not be everyone’s picture of a religious artist, either.

Yet that she most definitely is. And this weekend from Friday April 21 until Sunday April 23, the soft-spoken, devout Sikh painter from Montreal’s south shore will transform Cardus Ottawa, the home of Convivium.ca, into a showcase for her “Reflective Mantra Art Series.”

The show, which follows Kaur’s exhibits in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, is being mounted as part of Sikh Heritage Month. It’s also as a charity event to raise funds for Khalsa Aid an NGO that provides international humanitarian relief according to the Sikh principle of  ‘recognizing the whole human race as one.’

It was evident when I met with Kaur earlier this year in her office at McGill, and later at her home in suburban Brossard, that the exhibition represents a full blossoming not just of her artistic gifts, but of the way her deep religious faith infuses and is inseparable from the work she creates. Or, conversely, that creates and re-creates her.

“One of the pieces I have is called ‘The Spiritual Blossoming’ and it comes from a time when things were first really starting to blossom. It’s a peacock, and it’s in full colour plumage. That joy, that bliss, that love, the peace that’s inside is all just coming out. Because of what? Because of your consciousness changing and aligning itself with the Divine,” Kaur says.

“When I first felt that, I would ask: “How do you show that?” And then I saw it just happens, and I remember saying to myself ‘Ah, that’s what it is.’”

“Watching her work in her studio is like watching a pilgrim, penitent or worshipper settle into wholly peaceful communion with God.”

Bringing that elusive “what it is” to light has been part of a long process of discovery, one that ineluctably entwines art and faith, and not merely in a metaphorical way. The visual works being shown at the Cardus office on Rideau Street this week comprise a variety of subjects but have one stunning commonality. Inscribed in them are thousands of the miniscule hand-written mantra that Kaur uses in her meditative prayer.Watching her work in her studio is like watching a pilgrim, penitent or worshipper settle into wholly peaceful communion with God. There was the intensity of focus natural to artistic endeavor, but beyond it a kind of spiritual spreading mirrored physically in the way she relaxed across the canvas while tucking her legs tightly, intricately into her work chair. When she works, she covers her head and shoulders with black cloth not to much to screen the world out as to keep her attentiveness to God contained.“I go to God, to the Divine that is everything. I don’t bully it into silence. I just allow it to go in there, and it settles down by itself. There comes a time when I think ‘Yes, I am with you.” Because it’s true. We are always already with the Presence. It’s an illusion that we are separate,” she says.“I find the same feeling whenever I go into any place of worship. There’s the same omnipresence that I want to show in my paintings. Everything is Divine. There is nothing else but that.”

Kaur was born in Nairobi, Kenya. Her father died when she was four. Her mother did not teach her much about the Sikh faith directly, though Kaur has childhood memories of watching her pray, especially at times of unhappiness. It sustained Sikh identity, though not necessarily strict devotion, when the family moved to England before coming to Canada in 1967.

She got an undergraduate degree in chemistry at Concordia, then a graduate degree from McGill, taking up the life of wife, mother, and teacher, patiently waiting for something more, something deeper, something she always knew she would blossom into.

The first flowering began almost incidentally. She was invigilating an exam for the class of gifted students she taught, and idly picked up a red pen to begin drawing a picture. Suddenly, she found herself writing the mantra within it.

“I looked at it and said,  ‘oh, that’s nice,’ and never thought more about it. There was no reason for me to. But then I went home, and I just had to finish it. And I knew what it was telling me: that this is what it’s all about. Art speaks to the heart. It speaks to the soul. And my whole goal or inspiration has become: ‘Can my soul speak to yours through art?’”

In mid-life, Kaur was at last able to fulfill her educational dreams when she entered the doctoral program at Oxford University. The hard edge that emerged there was a serious questioning of her faith. It was a difficult, uncomfortable time until a friend taught her to regard her faith as a tool to be applied in an appropriate way to the appropriate situation. After she returned to Canada, bearing the Oxford DPhil that would open teaching and research positions at McGill, the application of faith to art became a way of life.

“I told myself to work every day for five to six hours. I would set aside my thinking things, then go into meditation. The questions stopped. My faith was, with His grace, restored.”

For Cardus, of course, restoration of faith to its proper place in the public square is a key part of the renewal of North American social architecture. Though not a church or an evangelizing organization, the think tank does proudly draw on 2000 years of Christian social teaching to carry out is mandate. And Convivium.ca is, first and foremost, about fostering faith in common life.

So, our Ottawa office as a showcase for art that points to the sacred imbuing the world, painted by an artist whose purpose is to speak to the soul through her work? What could possibly be a more faithful fit?

Convivium means living together. Would you join us in continuing to open and extend the conversation? Do you know someone who would enjoy this article? Send it to them now. 

With immense gratitude for your kind and generous words Peter!

Juss

 

A very memorable time!!

A phenomenal , well organized event with a grand touch of elegance all around, accompanied by presentations from speakers from all over the world.  Each person had an amazing, awe- inspiring story to tell. The dinner was delicious but guess who had to give a “Teg Talk” after dinner! Yup – Moi!

Both food and late nights have an adverse affect on me. They make me sleepy! So by the time it was my time to talk I was already checked out. I  felt like i was in a daze and honestly I blew it.

Hilariously – The topic was: Dare to be Your Authentic Self . 

“Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing.  It’s about Courage.  In a world where scarcity and shame dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive.

Uncomfortable. 

It’s even a little dangerous at times.  And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of feeling hurt.

But as I look back on my own life and what Daring Greatly has meant to me, I can honestly say that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful, as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the Courage to show up and let myself be seen.”

-Brené Brown

Dare to be vulnerable
Dare to live authentically
Dare to be seen
Dare to stand up for our beliefs
Dare to enter zones of discomfort
Dare to take risks
Dare to try new things
Dare to take detours
Dare to find life’s purpose
Dare to reach our fullest potential
Dare to live life to the fullest 

Dare to make a difference

Exhausted from two days of setting up an exhibition, an opening night and a show – although i managed to go on stage, although i dared and said ‘the show must go on’, i would like to add one more lesson to my ‘learnin’s’.

Do not compromise. 

Utterly grateful for this lesson and to all the organizers.

Juss

WHEN: April 21, 2017

TIME: 11:40 am – 1:10 pm

SPEAKERS: Rina Chawla, Rajwant Gill,  Dr. Juss Kaur, Devinder Kaur (TBD), Jasvir Kaur

Mary Wollstonecraft, founder of feminism, a philosopher, travel writer, human rights activist,  was a profound influence on the Romantics, and an educational pioneer. In Virginia Woolf’s words, “we hear her voice and trace her influence even now among the living.” She argued, apparently outrageously, that women were capable of reason – all they lacked was education. An early role model, she translated and reviewed essays on natural history, and she was speaking the language of human rights before the term existed. She didn’t exclude men, or indeed anyone. Perhaps her most quotable maxim is

“I do not wish [women] to have power over men, but over themselves.” (The Guardian)

A powerful woman realizes and becomes convinced that all her strength comes from no person, place or condition but from her own inner self. This may not have been taught to her at school or home but as her journey unfolds, she intuitively realizes that she has to have confidence in her own abilities and go forth and just do it. She believes she is strong enough to face her journey no matter what. I never set out to be an artist. I am in effect a scientist at heart, but I have learnt over time to combine both the tangible and intangible aspects of my surrounding.

My personal journey began when I was 4 yrs old when my father died. My mother, a young widow, having to deal with family issues had no choice but to give me up for adoption. Even though this was within our family, the fact that I had to move from home to home until she was able to take care of me, taught me to become independent.

For this I am very grateful.

I had to learn to find happiness within myself and not from someone. It took me decades to learn to become a woman of strength.  At every step i have been blessed with guidance from kindred spirits that have come magically into my life, leading, sharing, showing me the path.

What an honour and a privilege to be part of the Women’s Educational Panel, which was part of The Sikh Heritage Month held at the Ottawa Art Gallery.

The inspiring stories heard from the panelists are proof of the inner strength of women and what they can achieve when they want to it.

Juss

 

~ Greetings and Blessings Everyone~

I am very excited to invite you to my annual fund-raising art exhibition – to be held this year at Cardus in Ottawa to celebrate Sikh Heritage Month Ottawa & Faith In Canada 150

THE MASTER’S PRESENCE

An Art Exhibition of new works by

Dr. Juss Kaur

 – featuring original inspirational paintings that aspire not only to become prayers of healing & awakening for all but also to become mirrors to our own grace, and maps toward our collective evolution.

PLEASE COME AND BE PART OF THE UNVEILING OF THE PAINTING OF OUR SIXTH MASTER -GURU HARGOBIND SINGH JI – A LABOUR OF LOVE, WITH THOUSANDS OF HANDWRITTEN WAHEGURU MANTRA

Special guests will be joining us in this venture to support those who are serving selflessly:

Ravi Singh , the CEO of Khalsa Aid & Balpreet Singh from WSO (World Sikh Organisation) have  graciously agreed to come and show their support at the event.

All profits will be donated to Khalsa Aid.

I sincerely hope  that you will come and support the magnificent work being accomplished all over the world  by Khalsa Aid by buying a print or two or maybe an original!  (Special Exhibition Prices!)

 If you cannot come then please do forward this email to someone who can come and help us raise the maximum amount of money for those who are in need.

WITH LOVE & GRATITUDE

Juss

Directions to venue:

CARDUS,   45 Rideau  St., Ottawa, 613 241 4500

https://www.google.ca/maps/@45.4275494,-75.6912483,15.66z

PARKING

http://tedxmontrealwomen.com/3769/juss-kaur

The TEDxMontrealWomen event challenges each and everyone of us, as members of society, to question and define our values and beliefs in an effort to create an awareness and understanding of why we behave as we do, what motivates our behaviors and what drives our decisions to conduct our lives as we do. With this increased consciousness, we discover that we are more empowered than we previously thought to make positive, disruptive and impactful changes in whichever spheres of influence we choose. I feel blessed to be part of this event, to be given an opportunity to be one of the speakers. My topic will be ” Oneness”, one that very much reflects a topic very close to my heart. One which i try to depict in my paintings. The ubiquitous divine presence  in everything. We inherently, subconsciously do not like to see another human being in pain. When we experience natural disasters, we rally around each other. Why, then, do we feel so divided at other times? What allows these divisions to dissolve? How can the awareness of the intrinsic oneness of humanity lead us to more unification?

Thank you for all your love and support.

Hope to post the video of the talk here soon.

With much love and gratitude

Juss

This was a phenomenal affair. I was blessed to meet some of the fantastic speakers. I met Karen Armstrong at the Speakers Dinner the evening before the Conference began. What a down to earth personality, she made me laugh as she laughed at her own interesting episodes in life as she struggled with early failures in life to finally find success in her first book at the age of 49 years. How inspiring! I shared with her the fact that two of her books were my favourite – I read them while I was at Oxford and I loved them (The Spiral Staircase and Through the Narrow Gate) where she talks about her journey, thoughts, emotions and feelings as she became a nun and then found the courage to leave and face the world.

I also got to meet Kevin Cox from the School of Divinity at Harvard. He has been an educator and a mentor for 50 years! What a grand personality. I was greatly surprised to see Deepak Chopra coming to visit the Art and Meditation room. Loved, loved meeting him too. He is so soft spoken and gentle as he explains the biggest secrets of the universe. My biggest revelation of his talk was “where do thoughts originate from” and that Universe equals consciousness.

I was also honored with the presence of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Ah! What a lovely aura he brought to the art and meditation room. During his speaking session he conducted a very lovely meditation from The Art Of Living Foundation. Powerfully peaceful.

While the Reflective Art Meditation was really appreciated by all those attended, one special person just reached out and made my day! It just takes just one to connect with you at that soul level and all seems worthwhile.

Thank you to all my friends, family for being there. The president of the Concordia Sikh Student’s Association (Amanjot Kaur) and President of the McGill Sikh Student’s Association (Navaldeep Kaur) were simply awesome. God Bless!

With Love and Gratitude

Juss

Good news, everyone!

I am really thrilled to be participating in the 3rd Global Conference on World’s Religions this year, right here in Montreal. I will be presenting artwork from my Reflective Mantra Series, as well as holding sessions on art and meditation. It is such an important conference, and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

More text below image. 

The Reflective Mantra Series paintings to be displayed can be previewed on www.jusskaur.com. Each painting contains the Sikh mantra “Vaheguru.” Vah means Infinite, hay means Thou, and Guru means the Higher Self, or the Divine Teacher within you. The process of carefully using hand written calligraphy to embed these words in the Gurmukhi script throughout each painting becomes a form of meditation which evokes a spiritual meditative experience for the viewer.

Everything in the universe is made up of matter which can be broken down into small particles (atoms, quarks..)

The invitation is to perceive all beings with this particular lens; God everywhere and in everything!

The art exhibition and the meditation sessions will give people the opportunity to ponder over the many inspirational messages of the fantastic speakers that are presenting messages of love and peace. The conference, founded in the aftermath of the tragedy on 9/11, is meant to provide a space where the various religions of the world may come together to show their mutual commitment to peace, virtue, and piety, and their unity in the face of hatred, terror, and injustice.

What an incredible, important and necessary cause!

This year’s theme is “From Faith to Interfaith”; about bridging differences between various religions, the believers and the non-believers.

How we can learn from one another, strengthen our ties to reach common goals of making the world a more peaceful place.

A place where we are are not governed by fear of the other.

This magnificent daylong event is held every five years at the Palais de Congres. There will be many exciting speakers, like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Deepak Chopra, Karen Strong & Dr. Harvey Cox. This is, of course, just a taste of the many inspiring minds who will share their knowledge over the course of the conference.

Do come to support and take part in this deeply meaningful discussion. It is an event not to be missed !!!

I hope you will join me at the art exhibition in Rm. 512 C which will be open throughout the day.

The meditation session times are specified in the above poster.

Love. Peace. Joy.

Juss

Palais des congrès de Montréal

159, rue Saint Antoine Ouest
Montréal (Québec) H2Z 1H2

The Reflective Mantra Series paintings will be on display all day on Sept 15th and prints will be available at special conference prices.

3rd Global Conference on World’s Religions

The Art Meditation sessions will be held at the following times:

8:30 am – 9:30 am | 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm | 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

For more information, check out the Facebook event

Hope to see you there!!!!

It was truly a great pleasure to meet Brampton MP Ruby Sahota at the “My Master’s Touch” exhibition in April.

She graciously came out to show her support for the Arts and ended up buying three paintings!!!

In addition, I just received a certificate of appreciation from her office which i think is a lovely gesture and i really appreciate the time that was taken to do it.

With a grand thanks and warm regards!!!

Juss