Navjeet Kaur (b. 1993, Detroit, MI). is an interdisciplinary artist based in Detroit, MI. Kaur’s practice explores the harmony and chaos which exists within the body, spirit, and the earth. Her body sculptures take form as the earthly elements embodied as ancestors whom she pieces together to create reimagined stories and places of belonging.
Her recent body of work “We are Water Separated from its River” was exhibited at Womxnhouse Detroit where she was selected as a fellow in 2022. In 2021, Kaur exhibited in a solo show titled “Blood Memories: of Sun, Soil, and Threaded Rivers” at Hatch Gallery in Hamtramck. Her work and writing has been featured in Riverwise Detroit magazine where she advocates for the rights of Sikh-Punjabi farmers to peacefully protest in India. Kaur works as a full-time art teacher in the Detroit area and leads workshops with organizations that advocate for BIPOC communities. She received her BFA in Painting from Wayne State University and MA in Intercultural Communication from Oakland University.
Kaur currently lives and works in Detroit, Michigan.
My practice is a call to heal, connect, and look into our innate connection to the earth. When we know that earth holds us and cares for us, we care for the earth because reciprocity is love.
I am a Detroit-based interdisciplinary artist whose work is based in preserving the stories of those that came before me through somatic remembrance of ancestral folk traditions. Being from a Punjabi-Sikh family and identifying as that myself, I feel that it is important to address topics of intergenerational trauma and resilience through remembering in my work. I came to this work through unanswered questions about where my family comes from, what their traditions are, and the bodily pains and addictions I saw them experience throughout my life.
My practice is based in reimagining and reconnecting with ancestral traditions and rituals that consider care, belonging, and the earth as home. I do this through exploring my own body’s somatic awareness and remembrance as a container of knowledge. I explore the ways our bodies are interwoven and connected to the earth through creating sculptural clay and bronze earth bodies, ritual and ceremony near bodies of water, spoken word poetry, beadwork, and textiles. When I am engaged in my practice, I am imagining how each work is connected to one another, just as I am connected to my ancestors and we are connected to the earth. My intention is to create dialogue around the way capitalist policies, man-made borders, and colonization have separated humanity from their sacred connection to their ancestors, land, life, and ceremony around them.
For a long time, I did not feel like I belonged outdoors near the naturalness of the earth like my ancestors had throughout their lives in Punjab. Through communing with the waters around me through ceremony, ritual, and song; I found that all waters connected. This was my assurance that no matter where I am in the world, I am still connected to the part of myself that isn’t home anymore, that isn’t in Punjab anymore. My ancestors were artisans and farmers and came from a place that literally means “the land of five rivers.” Their upbringing considered their relationship and connection to the land.
My work and practice speaks to the degradation of our environment which not only endangers the lives of our plant and animal kin, but threatens erasures of languages, histories, and traditions of marginalized people. My ancestors spiritual roots of Sikhi are so strongly tied to the land. We were and still are the people of the soil.
Born 1993, Detroit, Michigan
Lives and works in Metro-Detroit.
2021 MA Communication Studies, Oakland University, Rochester Hills, MI.
2016 BFA Painting and BA Communication Studies, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2023 Impermanent Bodies, Live Performance, Reyes Finn Gallery, Detroit, MI
2021 Blood Memories: Of Sun, Soil, and Threaded Rivers, Hatch Gallery, Hamtramck, MI
Selected Group Exhibitions
2023 Agua Viva, Gallery 2 , Grand Forks Art Gallery, Grand Forks, British Columbia
2023 Get Together - 150 Detroit Artists, Reyes Finn Gallery, Detroit, MI
2022 Womxnhouse Detroit Installation 2022. Womxnhouse Detroit. Detroit, MI.
2022 Allium, Womxnhouse Detroit. Norwest Gallery. Detroit, MI.
2022 The Divine Feminine, ART from HEART. London, UK.
2021 Black and Brown Bodies with Plants, El Comalito Collective. Vallejo, California
2018 Detroit Art Babes: Salt Water, All-Women Artist Group Show. Hatch Gallery. Hamtramck, MI.
2018 Detroit Art Babes: Problematic, All-Women Artist Show produced by Cyrah Dardas, Detroit, MI.
2017 The Scarlet Event produced by #MpFrias, A Celebration of Female Expression, Bronx, New York.
2016 ART BABES, All-Women Artist Group Show, Detroit, MI.
2016 Senior Undergraduate Art Show, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.
Selected Artist Residencies
2023 Agua Viva Artist-in-Residence, Christina Lake, British Columbia
2023 Live Coal Artist-in-Residence, Detroit, MI
2022 Womxnhouse Artist in Residence, Detroit, MI.