D.K. Pattammal

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Milapfest honours South Asian artists in UK

By Mahalakshmi Venkatesh

Milapfest, Britain’s leading Indian arts development trust, recently instituted seven national-level awards to recognise and honour the contribution of artists from among the South Asian diaspora in the UK. These awards, which hold the unique distinction of being the first ever in the realm of Indian performing arts in the UK, include a Lifetime Achievement Award in Arts & Education, Acharya Ratna awards for distinguished teachers and Yuva Ratna awards for promising talent in  Indian classical music and dance.The awards ceremony was held at Nehru Centre, London on 8 October 2015, presided over by Dr. Ranjan Mathai, Indian High Commissioner to the UK and Althea Efunshule, Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council, England. The programme began with an invocation by young Carnatic vocalist Yarlinie Thanabalasingham, followed by the welcome address by Prashant Nayak, Executive Director, Milapfest. 

Addressing the gathering, Althea Efunshule emphasised the vital role of the arts in everyday life, and how they are undeniably “about the search for personal fulfillment; about strong families and friendships; about bringing joy to our learning; and about promoting the bond between grandparents, parents and children, through the way that we hand down our culture, revere the memory of where we come from, and celebrate the world we now all share.” She presented the Yuva Nritya Ratna  award to Kathak artist Parbati Chaudhary, and the Yuva Sangeet Ratna  award to Yarlinie Thanabalasingham.

Ranjan Mathai conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award for sterling service to Indian Arts & Education to Dr. M.N. Nandakumara, Executive Director of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London. The Sangeet Acharya Ratna award for music was conferred on Sivasakthi Sivanesan, Carnatic music guru of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London.  It was  a proud moment for the Bhavan as two of its guiding lights were honoured. The Nritya Acharya Ratna  award for dance, was awarded to Bharatanatyam guru  Pushkala Gopal. The Samyo & Tarang Musician of the Year awards were presented to Sanjuran Keerthikumar and Jasdeep Singh Degun respectively. 

In honouring artists who have served the arts for several decades, driven by their  passion for the arts, Milapfest has ensured that  India's art and culture will be cherished, celebrated and further enriched by the younger generation of South Asians in the UK in the years to come.

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