Newham Unlocked cultural festival celebrates as South Asian Heritage Month kicks off

The Council’s Newham Unlocked cultural festival celebrates South Asian Heritage Month for a second year with a vibrant programme of events kicking off this month.

Launched on the date that the Indian Independence Act 1947 came into effect, the month-long celebration of South Asian history also marks the contribution of the diaspora community who have made Newham their home. It is an opportunity to see, hear taste and explore what it means to be South Asian in the 21st century, as well as examine how the community has helped build the diverse Britain of today.

South Asian influences can be found everywhere in Newham, from our food and clothes to our music and even our words. The streets are rich with the colours, sights and sounds of a proud South Asian identity. Its culture permeates all parts of British life and adds to the diversity of the nation.

Earlier this year Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz OBE launched a new creative and cultural strategy – Building Newham’s Creative Future. The strategy reinforces our enduring commitment to widening the participation of our people in arts, culture, heritage and the creative sectors locally. It also demonstrates the scale of our ambition for Newham and our passion for delivering the best for our people and communities through seizing the opportunities culture presents for our people in terms of enrichment, learning, skills and jobs.

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, said: “Our Newham Unlocked Cultural Festival 2022 is showcasing an exciting programme to mark South Asian Heritage Month with an eclectic array of free educational, arts and cultural events across the borough and open to everyone.

From food tasting sessions so you can delight in the flavours of South Asian cuisine, there’s also storytelling, film, art and history events delivered in partnership with local artists and cultural organisations.

Central to our vision for the creative and cultural future of our borough is acknowledging our rich diversity of our people, because they are our strength and purpose in building a fairer Newham for all.”

South Asian Heritage Month runs from 18 July to 17 August, with events including:

  • Storytelling with Chitra Soundar, an award-winning author of over 50 books for children. A showcase of Bengali arts and culture produced by Sharothi Arts.
  • Pakistani trunk art workshop.
  • Demos, tasters and stories of south Asian food, highlighting South Asian heritage and food culture.
  • South Asian Games organised by activeNewham and local organisations.
  • An evening of the South Asian devotional music form, Qawwali with the Khan Brothers Qawwali group.
  • A film and digital installation featuring the testimonies of Newham residents, produced by Brolly production.
  • Screening of Ahimsa Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless, narrating his message of non-violence, its impact of many other movements such as Civil Rights Movements in the USA and its relevance today.

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Published: 22 Jul 2022