1. Learn: What is South Asian Heritage Month?
South Asian Heritage Month runs from the 18th of July until the 17th of August, and uses arts and culture to celebrate British South Asian history. People of South Asian heritage make important and valuable contributions to our society, and this month is a chance to acknowledge this.
The dates are specially selected to mark important events: 18th of July is the date of the Indian Independence Act, 1947. The month ends on the 17th of August, because this is the date that the Radcliffe Line was published. This set out the border between India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh. It also covers the date of Indian Independence Day, on the 15th of August.
Outside of the month, however, there are other important milestones, such as the Victory Day of Bangladesh, on December the 16th. Art at the Heart are embarking on an exciting ‘Victory Day Celebrations‘ project funded by Birmingham City Council Arts & Health to celebrate 50 years of independence. This will see 10 artworks created in workshops with Bangladeshi participants, supporting national pride and mental health. There will be plenty off work experience and volunteering opportunities available for this project, so watch this space! Read more here.
2. Visit an Exhibition
Birmingham is celebrating this month with its first ever huge art exhibition to mark the event, at the Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery. This is called ‘Voices of the Unheard’, and shows the importance of South Asian contributions to modern Britain. Visit for FREE from Tuesdays – Sundays.
Venturing further afield, Birmingham-born South Asian illustrator Manjit Thapp is taking over the Now Gallery, North Greenwich, with My Head is a Jungle, the 2021 Young Artist Commission. This 3D, maze-like gallery will feature jungle themes like snakes, tigers and tropical plants. The exhibition is FREE and runs from now until the 31st of October.
Here at Art at the Heart, we celebrate South Asian heritage all year round. Every year, we run arts and culture activities for Holi, the festival of colour, and Diwali, the festival of light. In 2019, we took over the Core Theatre in Solihull for two days of Diwali-themed activities. This featured live storytelling, face-painting, and creating shadow puppets! Want to know more about our plans for Diwali 2021? Sign up to our mailing list here to be the first to know about our cultural and creative events running throughout the year. For daily ideas and inspiration, download our everyday creativity calendar.
3. Join our Miniature Painting Workshop
South Asian Heritage Month celebrates rich and vibrant culture, which may include ancient practices such as Indian miniature painting. This is an art form that takes place on a very small scale, originating in India around 750 AD. On Wednesday the 18th of August, we will be holding a miniature painting workshop at the Core, Solihull, for children aged 11+! Book your place here, and read our blog post for more information.
How would YOU like to celebrate South Asian Heritage Month? Perhaps you could try a new South Asian recipe, listen to some musical ragas, or watch a Bollywood movie! There are plenty to be found on Netflix, and some films are available for free on YouTube, such as Lagaan – Once Upon A Time in India. Get in touch on social media to let us know what you’re getting up to. And visit our ‘What’s On’ page for all the latest updates on our events and workshops, including our jam-packed Summer 2021 Programme.