Credit: Kate Green Photography

Sampad South Asian Arts and Heritage, one of the UK’s leading South Asian Arts and Culture organisations, is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with the launch of a year-long programme of specially commissioned events, performances and arts partnerships.

Sampad has helped to establish South Asian arts within mainstream culture in Birmingham, and across the UK, playing a major role in promoting art and artists of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi heritage.

Anniversary highlights include a major, specially commissioned, international writing competition for women in Birmingham (UK), Pakistan and Bangladesh. My City My Home (April- March 2021) will reach out to emerging women writers from all three locations resulting in a publication of selected works together with live readings, book launches and celebration events. Funded by Culture Central (Transforming Narratives) & British Council.

Sampad is supporting 4 South Asian dancers who have been awarded commissioning funds by Dance Hub Birmingham to undertake a residency which will develop their choreographic practice. Anaya Bolar, Lakshmi Srinivasan, Sonia Chandaria Tillu and Vidya Patel will each work with an artist-mentor whom they have not worked with previously, sharing the work in April 2020. This will create opportunities for them to showcase this new work. Sampad is an active Dance Hub Birmingham partner.

Part of the 30th anniversary will feature Twelve (from June 2020), a film project which captures the lives and contribution of key figures and collectives who have helped to shape the West Midlands. These change-makers have been influential in a myriad of ways from fighting for equality for people of colour in the workplace, to the establishment of arts, heritage and cultural agencies which thrive today. The first films will be released in June 2020. The other films will be released online, together with associated public programme events, throughout the year.

Brit singer Navin Kundra performing

Award-winning singer-songwriter Navin Kundra, vocalist’s Priti Kaur and Rekha Sawhney and Bhangra vocalist Shin DCS are amongst the singers featured in The CBSO’s Bollywood Hits which returns to Symphony Hall this summer (26 June). In association with Sampad this spectacular gala concert conducted by Richard Davis will feature music from Rahman himself to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and many more. CBSO Celebrate their 100th Anniversary this year.

Sampad, in collaboration with Midlands Arts Centre invite audiences to Sampad Arts Mela (25 July). This festival, across the MAC building, will feature exciting performances of music, dance, theatre, arts and crafts, and tasty South Asian street food. A showcase of the rich and diverse array of South Asian Arts and Culture, it offers a great opportunity for families and communities to come together for a colourful day of celebration. The event will continue in the evening with a ticketed music performance. (further details will be announced).

Piali Ray Founder of Sampad Arts

Reflecting on 30 years in the city Founder Piali Ray OBE said “Sampad has evolved as an Arts and Heritage organisation with a commitment to engage with artists and communities across all backgrounds and barriers. From multicultural to intercultural we have seen how our artistic voice has resonated across cities and countries often flagged as a model of good practice.
At a time when the hurt of fractured society is challenging many of us, we must build on our friendships, trust and collective artistic voice developed over the past 30 years. None of this would be possible, or can be sustained, without the fantastic support we receive from people. I am immensely grateful to every individual who enabled Sampad and was a part of this journey. Looking ahead we will continue to deliver on our commitment to create exciting arts that promises to tell your stories to inspire our stories.”

One of the main programme highlights will see Birmingham Royal Ballet who also celebrate their 30th year in the city, partner with Sampad for a special BRB Residency (29 June-3 July) which will bring together Bharatanatyam dancer and rehearsal director with Akram Khan Company Mavin Khoo and Birmingham Royal Ballet first soloist Kit Holder to share, practice and explore each other’s dance language. The creative week will see them work on new choreography ahead of a sharing event at the end of the choreo-lab residency.

Later in the year, Sampad will be partnering with Midlands Arts Centre to present a Sampad at 30 exhibition in MAC’s People’s Postcode Lottery Community Gallery (September-December 2020), marking past, present and future. From a small desk and a telephone, back in 1990, Sampad has since worked across Birmingham, nationally and internationally connecting artists and communities with its mission to break down barriers, amplify unheard voices and celebrate South Asian arts and heritage. The exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the growth of a community, artist and organisation, capturing the essence of Sampad its rich history and its ambition for the years to come.

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