Multimedia exhibit brings the Golden Temple to the GTA

An exhibit opening Tuesday in Brampton brings the sights and sounds of the Golden Temple in India to the GTA through interactive installations and history lessons.

IN5 Experium: The Golden Temple will run at the Bramalea City Centre in Brampton for 2 months

Curated by the Sikh Research Institute, the exhibit invites Sikhs in Canada and other Canadians who want to find out more about Sikh culture to learn through interactive art. ((Submitted))
A new mixed reality, multi-media experience in the GTA hopes to transport you to South Asia.

The Golden Temple of Amritsar — one of the world's great wonders — is an important place for the Sikh religion but the curators of this exhibit hope that people from all backgrounds visit.

"What I do want is for everyone to come, take a look at this exhibit and fall in love with it," said Inni Kaur with the Sikh Research Institute.

"As an artist, it's an incredible opportunity for us to tell the story of the faith in a celebratory manner."

Inni Kaur with the Sikh Research Institute says Brampton's vibrant Sikh community makes it a great location for the exhibit, but everyone is welcome. (Talia Ricci/CBC)

The exhibit, which runs at the Bramalea City Centre until June 15, uses interactive installations to show the history and philosophy of the Sikh religion, eventually leading the visitor to a replicated Golden Temple experience created using projections.

Part of the exhibit includes an app available in English and Punjabi, which provides extra context as the visitors walk through the exhibit. 

"Be prepared for a change to occur within you," Kaur said.

"And maybe, just maybe, there will be longing to visit the Golden Temple in Punjab."

Not just for selfies

Harinder Singh with the Sikh Research Institute gave CBC Toronto a tour of the exhibit. He hopes visitors spend time learning a few of the history lessons before visiting the replicated temple.

"There's political events that have happened, spiritual events that have happened; there' s a right to assemble here that happened," Singh said.

"People need to understand what the value system that brought us here is, what is the paradigm, what was the culture being developed over 200 years before we enter the Golden Temple." 

Singh says he hopes people consider visiting the real thing after seeing this exhibit, or if they've been, return with a fresh lens, not just for a quick photo opportunity.

"Otherwise, I jokingly say it just becomes a place to take a selfie with."

The exhibit covers 30,000 square feet, recreating a virtual tour of the Golden Temple and exploring Sikh history. (Talia Ricci/CBC)

The idea is to also provide access to this experience for people who may not be able to travel to India.

Prior to reaching the temple portion of the exhibit, an interactive projection displays the beauty of illustrated manuscripts, Singh says, and how the text was written for different centuries.

"There's a Canadian charter; this is the charter of the Sikhs."

An interactive map also shares the significance of the landmarks surrounding the temple.

Harinder Singh with the Sikh Research Institute says he hopes people take their time wandering the exhibit. (Talia Ricci/CBC)

The Golden Temple's routine from dawn to dusk is recreated within the Golden Temple exhibit by speeding through projections, real video that was taken at the original location.

"What you would witness in 24 hours, we are recreating that in 30 minutes," Singh said.

"Even the detail you're seeing on the walkway we are looking at is a replica of what is there."

Both curators hope that people leave the experience with a fresh perspective.

"In this political environment, we need the broader public to understand who Sikhs are. It's a  great way to educate people on the principals of the faith and experience who we really are," Kaur said.