Articles in the Newspapers

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Daily News

Sikh signmaker in Bronxwood is nationally known artist in India

New York Daily News | May 15, 2012

Bronx artist creates mosaic of Mayor Bloomberg; hopes to present it to Hizzoner at City Hall

Some people try to fight City Hall. Harjeet Sandhu wants to decorate it. Sandhu, a 63-year old artist and signmaker in the Bronx, has crafted an artful mosaic portrait of Mayor Bloomberg that he wants to present to Hizzoner. “He is my mayor,” Sandhu said. “Some things he does, sometimes people don’t like it. But I think what he does for the city is very good.”

It took Sandhu five months of carefully crafting each piece of colorful glass with pliers, a chisel and a sander to manipulate them into Bloomberg’s likeness. The result: a 2-foot tall framed portrait of Bloomberg in a dapper blue suit, complete with a small American flag pin on his lapel. Sandhu has already reached out to City Hall and is eagerly awaiting a response. “I want to personally give it to him,” he said.

Sandhu was born and raised in the Punjab region of India. There, he was a physical education teacher and later pursued a master’s in fine arts. He became a successful sculptor and painter, earning recognition as northern India’s sculptor of the year in 1983.

Sandhu left India two years later and joined his sister, who lived in Bronxwood. He eventually opened a sign making business on Boston Road. Even as he built his sign business, Sandhu never gave up his passion for his art. Last week, he spoke excitedly of his four solo exhibitions in India and of his desire to have an art show here as well. He believes he is the only Sikh mosaic artist in the city. He often works on his mosaics at the Bronx shop when business is slow. “When I start, I don’t want to stop. I want to do nothing else,” he said. “This is what I love to do.”

His portrait of Indian poet and saint Baba Farid Ji, was recently placed in a museum in northern India. He is planning large pieces on Mother Theresa and President Obama, among others. But first, he wants to share his art with Hizzoner. “I am proud to be a Sikh artist,” Sandhu said. “I want Mayor Bloomberg to know that Indians can make art like this.”

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The South Asian Times

Sign painter of Bronx becomes a pioneer mosaic artist

The South Asian Times | November 15, 2013

After migrating to America, the man from Moga in Punjab became a signmaker to make a living. But the artist in him could not be suppressed for long. Some five years ago, he started working in a rare genre called mosaic art. Already he is recognized as a pioneer because his creations are more a painting than an artful assemblage of glass pieces.

Harjeet Singh Sandhu took this correspondent recently to his workshop in the basement of his house in Queens where he is currently working to give finishing touches to his portrait of Mother Teresa. “It may look finished, but I have yet to create the wrinkles to make her come alive,” said Sandhu.

Sandhu’s mosaic art musters both the imagination of an artist and the brawn of an artisan. “Often, my fingers start bleeding from cutting and handling glass pieces,” he says. His artworks’ height ranges from 2-4 feet. It takes him almost a year to finish one mosaic.

Consequently, he has completed only a few so far including a portrait of Baba Farid, the Golden Temple, Mayor Bloomberg and now Mother Teresa. He took his finished works at considerable personal expense for solo shows in Punjab early this year. The show at Punjab Kala Bhawan in Chandigarh was opened by Nek Chand, who gave the city its chief tourist attraction, the Rock Garden. Nek Chand also honored him on behalf of the Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi.

Baba Farid was Sandhu’s first mosaic. This 12th century Sufi saint-poet lived in the part of Punjab from which Sandhu also hails. Faridkot is named after the saint and to a museum there Sandhu has gifted the mosaic.

Three-term Mayor Bloomberg he chose as a subject because, “He is my mayor,” Sandhu told the New York Daily News. “Some things he does, sometimes people don’t like it. But I think what he does for the city is very good.” The 2-foot tall portrait of Bloomberg is in a dapper blue suit, complete with a small American flag pin on his lapel.

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Tribune, Chandigarh

Artist Harjeet Singh Sandhu from New York is an expert at creating mosaic works with glass

Tribune, Chandigarh, India | "Through the looking glass" | January 7, 2013

Unassuming…he pulls out sketches and magazines from the 'only' bag (probably) that he could manage to get from New York.

Artist Harjeet Singh Sandhu had to trade his luggage for paintings he had packed for an exhibition in Chandigarh. "The airport authorities said I couldn't carry so many works of art, mostly big-sized. I consulted my friend in college, Sadhna Sangar, decided to leave my luggage behind and get all the paintings," says Sandhu, as he prepares to talk about his journey from being a physical education teacher to a painter.

A mosaic artist, Sandhu puts his work ‘Colored Mirrors’ on display at the Punjab Kala Bhawan-16, Chandigarh, on Sunday. A mosaic work of Baba Farid is what he wants to begin his story with… "I think I had an artist in me. When I was a kid, I would make clay toys.

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Tribune India

Moga man’s mosaic art earns accolades in US

Tribune India, Moga | August 5, 2012

Sixty-four-year-old mosaic artist Harjeet Singh Sandhu, who was born and brought up in Punjab, has earned laurels in New York for his mosaic portrait of Bloomberg, a three-time Mayor of New York. The portrait will be displayed at the City Hall.

Sandhu, who has held many exhibitions of his art works in India and the US, is now working on a mosaic of the Golden Temple, which he hopes will find place in the gurudwara museum. Sandhu was born at Marhana village in Patti subdivision of Tarn Taran district. His family later shifted to Moga. He did his schooling from Arya Model School and pursued masters in fine arts.

He became a sculptor and a painter. He was named North India’s sculptor of the year in 1983. Sandhu migrated to the US in 1985 when Punjab was in the grip of militancy. He started a sign-making business on the Boston Road.

Even as Sandhu flourished his business, he never gave up his passion for art. “I work on mosaics at my shop when the business is slow, but when I start working on it, I do not stop and love to do it for hours together,” he said while talking to The Tribune over the phone.

When he visited Moga a couple of years ago, he made the portrait of famous Sufi saint Baba Farid. The art work has been displayed at a museum in Faridkot. “I am planning to make large mosaic pieces of Mother Teresa and President Barrack Obama and the Sikh gurus. I am proud to be the lone Sikh artist to get accolades in the US for making mosaics,” he added.

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Tribune News Service

Moga’s mosaic artist makes a mark

Tribune News Service | August 3, 2012

A 64-year old mosaic artist, Harjeet Singh Sandhu, who grew up in Moga and did his schooling from here, has now, earned laurels in New York after he made a beautiful mosaic portrait of Bloomberg, the three-time Mayor of New York, for decorating it in the City Hall, recently.

Sandhu was born at Marhana village in Patti sub-division of Amritsar (now in Taran Taran district) but his family shifted to Moga when he was a toddler. He did his schooling at the Arya Model School, here.

He became a successful sculptor and a painter earning recognition but left the country and migrated to the US in 1985 at a time when militancy was at its peak. A couple of years back when he visited Moga, his home town, he made the portrait of the famous Sufi poet and Saint Baba Farid, which has now been placed in a museum at Faridkot.

"I am planning to make large pieces of mosaic of Mother Teresa and President Barack Obama and the Sikh gurus in the near future," he said. "I am proud to be the lone Sikh artist to get accolades in the US for making mosaics," he said. Sandhu, who has held many exhibitions of his art in India and the US, is presently working on making the mosaic of the Golden Temple, which he hopes to exhibit at the gurudwara museum.

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Bronx Times

Businessman moonlights as artist, creates Bloomberg mosaic

Bronx Times | May 31, 2012

Hizzoner has been immortalized by a Bronx artist.
But Mayor Bloomberg just doesn’t know it yet.

Allerton businessman Harjeet Sandhu has crafted a mosaic portrait of Bloomberg that he wants to present to the 3-term mayor. “Everyone knows me as the sign guy, but now I’m going to be the sign guy and the artist,” said Sandhu, 63, who has run Boston Signs at 2528 Boston Road for the past 18 years. The heavy, 2-foot size portrait is a head and shoulders shot of Bloomberg inspired by a photograph.

It took Sandhu five months to complete the piece, comprised of bits of tile glass molded with a chisel and sander. His passion to complete the job was so strong that he bled from his thumbs. Sandhu said he drew his inspiration for the mosaic from his love for the Big Apple. “I am from New York, he’s the mayor of a city I’m proud to live in,” said Sandhu.

Before immigrating to the United States in 1985, Sandhu was a gym teacher in his native Punjab, India. But then he answered his calling to be an artist by attending Punjab University to earn a master’s degree in fine arts. “I’m a born artist,” Sandhu said he realized. He later held four art exhibitions in India before settling in America. His works on Baba Farid Ji, Punjabi’s first saint, now hang on a wall in northern India.

With his Bloomberg mosaic completed, Sandhu is focusing on creating mosaics on India’s Golden Temple, Mother Teresa and President Obama. Sandhu reached out to Bloomberg’s office. “They ask me to email them a picture,” said Sandhu. “I’m hoping to get an answer.” He is now looking to set up an exhibition “anywhere in the Bronx”.
Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or email him at dcruz@cnglocal.com.

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