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Asian Woman Festival 2019: Identity and Art to take centre stage in Birmingham

Asian Woman Festival 2019: Identity and Art to take centre stage in Birmingham

An opportunity to discuss balancing Asian life with all the different demands there are and how women artists are responding to the challenges…

by Momtaz Begum-Hossain

CULTURE and conversation will be at the heart of the inaugural Asian Woman Festival, to be held on March 30, at The New Bingley Hall in Birmingham.

The one-day event packs a punch with its line-up of influential South Asian artists and creatives who will be exploring the core theme of ‘identity’.
It’s not the first event aimed at Asian Women, but in terms of a festival, it shares a similarity with Black Girl Fest, an arts and culture festival launched in 2017 which celebrates black British women and girls but this time it’s British Asians at the forefront.

Founder Shani Dhanda believes that in creating such an event, it offers a new kind of space to discuss the topics that women want to talk about.

She said: ‘Being of Asian origin and living in the UK means that not only are we a more socially conservative community due to our traditional and cultural beliefs, but we are constantly bridging two cultures. Until now, there hasn’t been an opportunity to talk about how living in contradiction becomes second nature.

The festival will open with a keynote speech by award-winning spoken word artist, Jaspreet Kaur and includes a programme of panel talks, debates and workshops and an art exhibition called ‘Musings of Identity’, displaying work by 30 different artists.

One of them is Ireland based artist Simmi Duffin who has stitched four classic products that remind her of her childhood, including a tub of ghee and jar of tikka masala sauce.

Speaking to about the exhibition, she said: “I grew up with an Indian Dad and grandparents in London, despite the fact that I am as white as white and would never be mistaken for being part Asian! Most of my friends didn’t know I had any Asian heritage as my dad was often away for work, so they only met my English mum.

“We also lived in suburban Surrey and so the most exotic things anyone there ever encountered was a jar of Patak’s which is why I wanted to recreate one for my submission to the festival as it reminds me of my childhood.”

The Asian Woman Festival is hosted by Shay Grewal, is broadcaster on BBC Radio WM and BBC Radio London.


Asian Woman Festival, Saturday, March 30, from 11am-7pm, 1 Hockley Circus, Birmingham B18 5PP

Tickets are just £10 for the day.

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture