Tamanna Sachdev


Class of: 2023

Major: Interior Design BFA

Medium: Photomontage/Collage

Faculty: Michelle Y. Lee

Prompt: Create a self-portrait photomontage that reflects upon your family’s history/background and transcends beyond time and space. We had to utilize historical and library archives along with personal photographs to understand the importance and usage of digital and analog primary materials.

This photomontage reflects upon my family’s practice of following the Sikh religion’s faith in keeping hair uncut. In Sikhism, it is believed that hair is the antenna of the body and by keeping it uncut, one can attract positive energy. Sikhs also believe that by performing this value, it shows one’s acceptance of God’s creation of humankind. However, as it is extremely physically demanding, it attracts attention to racist remarks from those of a different culture. Recent studies show that due to wearing the turban, Sikhs have often been misunderstood as Muslims or as the Taliban, specifically after the incident of 9/11. Not only has this stopped at verbal comments, but it has also led to physical attacks on Sikhs, specifically those living in the Western part of the world. I have witnessed my own brother’s struggle with hair, having grown up in an international community. Therefore, this piece is a photomontage of archives and personal family photographs of Sikh boys and girls, men, and women preserving this value. I utilized pictures from the New York Public Library archive, Toronto Public Library Archive, Getty Image Archive, along with my family photographs to highlight the legacy of this tradition. Through this piece, I hope to distinguish this practice from other religious practices to present its uniqueness, significance, and beauty.

NYPL Image Archive
Toronto Public Library Archive
Getty Images Archive
Tamanna Sachdev’s Personal Images