Wandsworth celebrates South Asian Heritage Month 2024

In 2023, Wandsworth Council launched a new fund for artists and cultural organisations to develop a local South Asian Heritage Month programme for Wandsworth. Building on last year’s success, Wandsworth’s South Asian Heritage Month programme returns from 18 July to 17 August with five new South Asian-led cultural projects.

The five projects will bring the bell-jangling footwork of the traditional Kathak Dance, a range of free craft sessions incl. the art of creating Rangoli patterns, an evening of singing with Decolonise Choir, a day long community festival of Sri Lankan contemporary culture and a series of community workshops with local writer Sudha Bhuchar.

The programme is designed to encourage residents of South Asian heritage to engage in cultural activity that is meaningful to them, as well as allow the wider community to better understand the histories of fellow residents. Artists of South Asian heritage and/or South Asian-led organisations were particularly encouraged to apply, as part of a wider invitation to contribute to the cultural agenda of the borough.

What’s On:

Head and shoulders of a woman sat on a stage

Bhuchar Boulevard in association with Tara Theatre presents

Evening Conversations and more…

Acclaimed local writer and star of Amazon Prime’s EXPATs and Mary Poppins Returns, Sudha Bhuchar, brings her solo show Evening Conversations (and more) to Earlsfield’s Tara Theatre.

Described by actor Riz Ahmed as “full of truth and beauty” Evening Conversations was inspired by Sudha’s banter with her Millennial/Gen Z, dual-heritage sons, and is a humorous and truthful piece of storytelling that crosses ages and cultures.

In a unique offer for South Asian Heritage Month Wandsworth, Sudha will host Conversation Circles with community groups from Wandsworth and share her practice in July (workshop dates tbc, contact [email protected] for information on how to sign up.)

Attendees will celebrate the extraordinary in everyday lives through capturing conversations, and exploring themes of identity, heritage, family, diasporic journeys and health & wellbeing. The project will culminate in a circle of sharing work and a free performance of Evening Conversations at Tara Theatre for the participants on Friday 6 September at 5pm, with a public performance following at 8pm.

Bhuchar Boulevard’s projects hold up a mirror to our common humanity and amplifies the voices and stories of South Asian artists. Founder Sudha and Associate Suman Bhuchar’s encounter with Jatinder Verma, founder of Tara Theatre, changed their lives – and Sudha collaborated with his successor, the late Abdul Shayek, on the acclaimed Final Farewell.

Alongside this grant-funded project, Tara Theatre are also running a free South Asian Play Reading Group in July and August and they’re looking for people to join the group! The session on Wed 31 July will feature a reading of the play Balti Kings from Sudha Bhuchar and Shaheen Khan.

www.bhucharboulevard.com | taratheatre.com

6 dancers leap into the air

Pagrav DanceAunusthan

Join Pagrav Dance Company on Thursday 15 August at Tooting Works for Aunusthan. This celebration of Indian classical dance is an energising and dazzling display of bell-jangling footwork, dazzling spins, and tight technique. The show enfolds you in the powerful and mood-lifting sounds and colour of South Asian culture to create an hour of pure delight: the soaring melodies and riotous beats of the music carry your mind to far-off places and bring you home again, exhilarated.

Led by internationally renowned choreographer Urja Desai Thakore, Pagrav Dance Company is at the forefront of British Kathak Dance – taking it from a traditionally solo dance to a collaborative, ensemble art. This approach preserves the cultural heritage of Kathak, whilst promoting broader appreciation of the discipline in new audiences and mobilising its impact to empower people and enhance lives.

pagravdance.com

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The Arty Crafty Crescent Club

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of South Asian heritage with The Arty Crafty Crescent Club! Join them at Cromwell House Community Hub to explore, create, and celebrate South Asian culture together.

Prepare for South Asian Heritage Month with their teaser events on Tuesday 16 July. From 12-3pm join them for a ‘Colour with Threads’ workshop, where you’ll embroider black-and-white portraits of South Asian women using vibrant threads (all materials provided).

Then explore South Asian illustration with their ‘Introduction to South Asian Artists’ session, 3-5pm, and create your own masterpiece celebrating heritage and individuality.

On Tuesday 23 July, dive into the world of Pakistani truck art, where you can craft your own vibrant designs inspired by this iconic cultural phenomenon. Celebrate your individuality with the theme ‘Free to be Me’.

Join them on Tuesday 30 July for a delightful family event centred around Rangoli art. From 12-5pm, parents and children can learn the art of creating beautiful Rangoli patterns, deepening their understanding of this traditional form.

Tiah is a neurodivergent AuDHD textile artist who leads the Arty-Crafty Crescent Club, a community interest company promoting Muslim art and culture.

Offering free art and craft sessions at Cromwell House community hub, Tiah fosters creativity and inclusivity.

For more details, contact The Arty Crafty Crescent Club via email: [email protected].

Two women wearing aprons with Hop & Roll on grin at the camera

The Sri Lankan Culture Collective 

Rosheana Olivelle, Thana Sivasambu and Ranji Thangiah are the Sri Lankan Culture Collective. Sharing their love of their Sri Lankan heritage, culture and food, they run food-focused businesses and are part of Hera Project X, an initiative that’s reframing the narrative of Sri Lanka, a culturally rich and diverse country.

Kicking off South Asian Heritage Month, The Sri Lankan Culture Collective are curating a digital programme of activity including a playlist of Sri Lankan music by Sri Lankan music PR legend, Indy Vidyalankara, an online screening of Jei Palanivel’s short documentary about Kool (a seafood dish from Jaffna), Mark Machado from Murali End the Sri Lankan cricketing podcaster will produce a special SAHM episode and finally, there will be SAHM episodes of ‘Tea with Tooting Mama. Ranji Thangiah will talk to fellow Sri Lankans Rosh Olivelle – Hop & Roll, Thana Sivasambu  – Ruci Foods and Krishanthi  Puwanarajah – MUVs ALLDAY about their Sri Lankan heritage, culture and food.

On Sun 22 September, they will host a one-day community festival of Sri Lankan contemporary culture at the Battersea Barge. The day will feature a hands-on sari draping workshop, Hopper-making workshop and supper club, and a curated lineup of comedy, music and performances of talent from the Sri Lankan diaspora.

Join the waiting list for more details, including early bird offers and a limited number of free concessionary tickets. This is a not-for-profit event, all profits will be donated to a local food bank: bit.ly/SriLankanCultureCollective.

Large group of people from Decolonise Choir huddled together grinning for photo

Tara Theatre presents

Decolonise Choir

An evening of joyful collective singing at Tara Theatre in partnership with the Decolonise Choir. Decolonise Choir is a choir for people of colour – led by Ishani Jasmin, a South Asian artist, organiser, facilitator, and community musician working in London.

The theme for the 2024 South Asian Heritage Month is ‘Free to Be Me’ and resonates strongly with Tara Theatre as a South Asian led organisation, and with members of the Decolonise Choir community. Decolonise Choir invites singers of colour to collectively celebrate decolonising spaces, in unity and freedom.

Tara Theatre will offer free tickets to Decolonise Choir’s performance on Friday 9 August to Wandsworth community groups, including those who attend their weekly free ‘Meet Your Neighbours’ creative sessions and a weekly group for local refugees and asylum seekers run in partnership with CARAS. Wandsworth residents will also be able to access discounted £5 tickets for the show.

Decolonise Choir is a project shouldered by Decolonise Fest, a festival by and for punx of colour focused on programming alternative and punk musicians of colour. Decolonise Choir was formed to create a space for our global majority community to experience the joy, the resistance, and the healing of singing together.

https://taratheatre.com/shows/decolonise-choir-at-tara-theatre