Two men face an open door at the top of a small flight of periwinkle-coloured stairs. Beside the opening, a closed door glitters, replete with detailed, golden iconography and a vermillion lintel embroidered with script-like markings. The men and the entrance are framed by billowing cream, yellow, red and blue curtains that recall a royal litter or an extravagant four-poster bed. As viewers, we intuit that the men are not apprehending a domestic space; rather, they appear to be at the threshold of a regal or spiritual location. In fact, the painted figures at the centre of (Nep) Nirbhai Singh Sidhu’s mixed-media tapestry Medicine for a Nightmare, 2019, stand in front of Hazūr Sāhib, a Sikh temple in western India and one of the five Takhats, seats of religious authority. The quasi-geometric imagery surrounding the men, which includes references to sound and Punjabi calligraphy, conjures a sense of enshrined reverence common to the works in Sidhu’s ambitious exhibition, “Medicine for a Nightmare (they called, we responded),” on view at Mercer Union. Keep Reading
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