As British photography duo, Amit and Naroop, creators of the "The Singh Project," prepare to open their newest photography exhibition, "The Sikh Project," in New York City Thursday night, they are also launching a new Kickstarter campaign to create "The Sikh Project Book" to showcase their portraits of British and American Sikhs in a more permanent and more widely accessible form.
"We feel that The Sikh Project Book isn't just for Sikhs," Naroop told NBC News. "It's for everyone. At its core, the project is about identity. Pride. Not conforming. Individuality. In this day and age, no [one] should feel that they need to fit in. Being like everyone else is boring. Staying true to who you are takes courage."
In addition to portraits of 72 British and American Sikhs previously featured in "The Singh Project" and "The Sikh Project" exhibitions, the book will also include stories about each of the individuals and how wearing the Sikh articles of faith have empowered them. Among those featured in the book will be Sat Hari Singh, a New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) subway driver who helped save lives on Sept. 11, 2001, by driving his train backwards away from the Twin Towers and leading people to safety, and Magic Singh, a British Sikh magician who used his Sikh identity to build a mainstream presence in the entertainment industry, according to Naroop.
"Our aim is that it will inspire others to have pride in who they are, Sikh or not," Naroop said. "If the subjects, some of who have faced bullying and horrific persecution, can stay true to their identity, then there is no reason why anybody else can't."