1. ITV Report

Painting the past in Kent

One of the paintings done by women at the Guru Nanak Day Centre Photo: ITV Meridian

Sikh women from Kent are using painting to explain how marriage changed their lives so dramatically.

The senior citizens, many in their 70s and 80s, are from the Guru Nanak Day Centre in Gravesend. As part of a special project they were given oils and brushes and asked to paint about a subject close to their hearts. They chose marriage.

The paintings do not just focus on colour, celebration and ceremony. Most of the women married in India when they were very young and one has painted herself on her wedding day carrying a doll because at the time she still felt like a child.

Some of the Gravesend artists who took part in the project. Credit: ITV Meridian

One of the artists, Seetal Kaur, said: ''I was too young at my wedding. Only 11 or 12 years old. In my village in India, my parent and grandparents thought 'quick girl - marriage.'''

Guru Nanak project leader Ravinder Atwal said: ''The individuals themselves weren't aware that this was actually happening. So they were engaged, went their separate ways, lived their separate lives until they were at an age where they could be re-joined and the wedding ceremony could take place. It was only long after the event that they realised what had happened. It was something they didn't really understand.''

Since the project began, the paintings have gone on display in libraries, council offices and an art gallery. Many are impressed by how accomplished they are.

''We are particularly proud about the comments that we have received from families,'' said Mrs Atwal. ''They are taken aback that their loved ones have produced such beautiful paintings. Credit to them and our services as a whole.''

The paintings have gone on display at council offices and libraries Credit: ITV Meridian