Festival Accès Asie invites you to an interdisciplinary performance that includes storytelling, spoken word, live psychedelic rock fusion music, and video with Himmat Singh Shinhat and his solo work PANJ.
Two performances of PANJ are scheduled; the première on May 19th and a second show on May 20th.
Himmat struggles to accept the sudden and unexpected death of his father, Harchand. A river of silence has separated them since Himmat came out as queer. There is unfinished business between them, questions that remain unresolved. Himmat turns to his mother, Surjit, for support. As they share memories of Harchand, she reveals confidences she has carried all her life, about her husband, and about the history of her family. Out of this dialogue, a deeper mutual understanding starts to emerge. As Himmat recalls his 40th birthday and the “peti,” a traditional Indian wooden chest, that his father had made for him, he finds the answers to his questions.
PANJ follows the journey of Himmat’s Punjabi Sikh family from the aftermath of the decolonisation of the British Empire to the emergence of Himmat’s identity. The performance explores themes of dislocation, separation, and loss, taking the audience through five moments in time and space, from the rivers of Punjab to the banks of the St-Lawrence.
*The play will be performed in English.
Le Groupe Herencias uses the arts to promote, exchange, and encourage acceptance of diversity in identity, culture, and heritage. They create thought-provoking, publicly-engaged projects and powerful performances that deconstruct common notions of who we are and who we are expected to be. By doing so, they work to inspire the creation of more inclusive societies. This collective is composed of and collaborates with, culturally diverse people of colour (POC) who have experienced trauma, violence, adversity, and/or mental health disorders. They experiment with innovative arts practices to share, learn, and exchange on culture, identity, and heritage to create social change.
Himmat is a composer, a professional musician, and an interdisciplinary artist of Indian ancestry. His compositions have been used in solo performances, soundtracks for theatre, film, contemporary dance, and performance art. Notably, his work was featured on the CBC national television show “Adrienne Clarkson Presents” as part of the television premiere of “Burning Skin,” a dance performance by choreographer Roger Sinha. His contemporary musical pieces constitute a fusion of his influences and the tensions between them. His work is informed by his education in western classical music; the Sikh religious music, Bollywood soundtracks, the Indian classical and folk music that he heard in his childhood home, and contemporary popular music.
Himmat Singh Shinhat – Multidisciplinary artist