Gehra 2
'Gehra' by Sahar Bano Malik


This month we welcomed our new Art Executive, Sahar Bano Malik, to the House. As well as working on our latest exhibitions, Soho Faces and Am I Asking For Miracles Here?, Sahar will be making sure our art collective remains at the heart of the House.

To celebrate South Asian Heritage Month, Sahar gives us some more information about its conception, and shares with us some amazing art and culture created by the community for you to enjoy.


What is South Asian Heritage Month?

South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) exists in order to commemorate, mark and celebrate South Asian history and culture, as well as to better understand the diverse heritage that continues to link the UK and South Asia. It was launched in the House of Commons in July 2019. This year marks the second South Asian Heritage Month, taking place between 18th July – 17th August 2021.

Sahar’s Book Recommendations

  • Finding A Voice by Amrit Wilson – First published in 1978,  Finding a Voice established a new discourse on South Asian women’s lives and struggles in Britain. Through discussions, interviews and intimate one-to-one conversations with South Asian women, in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and English, it explored family relationships, the violence of immigration policies, deeply colonial mental health services, militancy at work and also friendship and love.
  • The Right Sort of Girl by Anita Rani – trying to navigate her Indian world at home and the British world outside her front door, Rani’s novel depicts the upbringing of a second-generation British girl growing up in the North, who didn’t fit in anywhere.


Sahar’s Art Recommendation

  • Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941). Sher-Gil was a Hungarian-Indian painter – a leading avant-garde woman artist in the 20th Century, and a pioneer for Indian art.
Three Girls
'Three Girls' (1935) by Amrita Sher-Gil

“Her paintings [embody] the mysticism and the ethereal fantasy of [Paul] Gauguin — that exoticism, but without that creepy, white voyeuristic gaze. She’s painting subjects that look like her, and raising them up to be beautiful.”

Sahar’s Music Recommendation

  • Coke Studio – listen with translation and subtitles – here. Coke Studio (Urdu: کوک اِسٹوڈیو ‎) is originally a Pakistani television programme and international franchise which features live studio recorded music performances by established and emerging artists. It is the longest-running annual television music show in Pakistan, running annually since 2008 – featuring Indian, African and Middle Eastern music.

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