Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa

Published: Monday, 29 October 2018 at 4:22:03 PM

Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa is a first generation Australian Sikh spoken word artist, educator, performer and human rights reformer who will be performing at Australiyaniality on Saturday 3 November 2018.

Sukhjit is passionate about diversity and the importance of visibility in the performing arts and inherently merges her advocacy background with the arts. Her work predominantly provokes conversations around Australian identity, feminism, cultural confusions, and the power of uncomfortable conversations. She has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Missy Higgins and L-FRESH the Lion and her performances and workshops have led her to tour USA, Canada, UK and South East Asia, as well as across Australia. Sukhjit is currently co-commissioned to write and perform 'Fully Sikh' with Barking Gecko Theatre Company and Black Swan State Theatre Company in Western Australia for their 2019 season.


1. Tell us a little about yourself

I grew up in Perth and I fell into spoken word poetry four years ago when I walked into The Bird in Northbridge one night with a mate and entered the Australian Poetry Slam not knowing how national the competition was, went on to represent WA at the finals then have immersed myself with spoken word poetry ever since. I'm now transferring those skills into my true love: the theatre!

I lived in Melb for the last three years and now I'm back to my hometown - it's the first time I've been a fulltime artist in Perth so I'm getting to know my own city's scene with fresh eyes.

2. What kind of conversations do you hope your work starts?

As a whole, I hope this exhibition invites us all to look a little deeper at what it means to be "Australian" and not to not be afraid of "the other", to ask questions of others rather than make assumptions and feed into damaging stereotypes.

I believe it’s my duty as a Sikh to continue the social justice legacy of my people, to be conscious of humanity that surrounds us and have those uncomfortable conversations. It’s in my history and in my blood.

3. What do you love most about what you do?

I never have a routine or regular day, every day has it's own exciting agenda, I love the change of environment and meeting new people, you never know what you're going to learn from them.

I've also been around the world with my poetry and that has been a unexpected dream come true.

Growing up in Perth as a brown hairy Sikh girl, I've often felt isolated that I would never find people who understood my experience or made me feel safe to express myself. Through these performance tours, I've met sisters and built deep connections with people who might live on the other side of the world but always feel present. Our art and our spiritual connections keep us close. I love that there are so many possibilities for future collaborations and modern day technology makes it possible to work on projects seas apart.

I love that the practice of performing poetry solo has built my communication skills and has made me more unapologetic with my expression, braver with my heart and wiser in my mind.


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