The Ik Oankaar Art Contest


Member | The Art and Culture of the Diaspora | Article Detail

The Ik Oankaar symbol which opens the preamble - the Mool Mantar, the Credal Statement - of the Guru Granth Sahib - contains in it the very quintessence of Sikhi.

Uniquely comprised of two elements - the first digit of the Gurmukhi/Punjabi numerical script, "Ik", and the first letter of the Gurmukhi/Punjabi alphabet, "Oorrha" - the symbol conveys, in one fell swoop, the central message of Sikhi:

That God is One ... one with all Creation

That there is One God ... God of all Creation

That God is Infinite

Therefore, we are all ... men and women, of all colours, races, nations, ethnicities, languages, capabilities, and bundles of wealth ... equal.

Sikhi recognizes that God is infinite and impossible to describe or fathom through human comprehension or language. Words literally fail. Hence, the use of a digit and an alphabet letter to capture that indescribability!

The message is unique and simple, uncomplicated yet profound. It is loaded with meaning and open to infinite interpretation ... after all, the 1430 pages of the Guru Granth merely expand on this opening credo.

We would like to invite our readers - our artists, designers, dreamers and all others - to apply their creative energies to this central Sikh symbol by interpreting it and formulating their own artistic renditions of the Ik Oankaar by capturing, in their unique and respective ways, what the symbol means to each ... what each one sees in it, what it signifies to each one in his/her life.

Hence, this contest.

We invite submissions from all of you across the globe - young and old, Sikh and non-Sikh, professional artists and amateurs, or even those who've hitherto never drawn a thing - of your personal graphic interpretations of this symbol which is so central to our theology, our philosophy and our way of life.


The winner will be selected by a panel of judges and receive:

a) One economy, round trip air ticket from the winner's country of permanent residence to either Amritsar, India or Toronto, Canada - the choice will be the winner's.

b) One week's luxury accommodation in either Amritsar or Toronto.

c) No cash value will be offered in lieu of the prizes described above.

d) Both the air ticket and the accommodation will be available only to the winner, and only for a period of 12 months from the date of the announcement.

No reasons will be provided in selecting the winner, or for not selecting a specific submission as the winner.

All submissions will be displayed on, identifying each artist/designer.


1 Persons of all ages may apply. No age distinction will be made between the submissions.

2 Sikhs and non-Sikhs from anywhere in the world may apply.

3 Professional artists, amateurs or first-time dabblers - all may make submissions.

4 Any number of submissions may be made by any individual.

5 Winners and participants from previous contests may participate again.

6 A submission may be a sketch, drawing, painting or graphic design - and may be done in pen, pencil, crayon, charcoal, paint, or with the aid of a computer; that is, it may be produced in any medium.

7 Each submission must be accompanied by the artist's full name, age, e-mail and full postal address, phone number(s) - cell, home, office.

8 A description of the reasons or interpretation behind the design - in no more than 100 words for each - should accompany every submission.

9 Each submission should be sent by e-mail in hi-resolution, in both JPEG and PDF formats, to

10 will have the right to publish (or not publish) each submission, identifying the respective artist/designer, as well as that of the winner, on its online magazine site and any of its supporting and promotional materials, without any fee to the artist/designer.

11 All communications pertaining to this contest should only be sent to However, no individual or personal acknowledgements will be made by to the submissions or enquiries pertaining to them.

All submissions must be e-mailed by you and received by us no later than 5.00 pm (Toronto, Canada time), Sunday, April 19, 2009.


The winner will be announced on or before May 4, 2009 on | The Art and Culture of the Diaspora | Article Detail