Birmingham celebrates South Asian Heritage Month: free events, food, and more

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From learning how to wear a saree to touring parts of Birmingham where South Asian communities have had a huge impact - there are several interesting activities lined up this month

The annual celebration of all things South Asian begins on July 18th in Birmingham and there’s loads of exciting and free events to take part in.

Birmingham Museums is presenting a range of activities and events to celebrate the month ending on August 17 to honour recognise, and appreciate South Asian history and the cultural legacy of countries in South Asia. Events will be held at various historic buildings across the region.

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This year, audiences will be transported back in time to the Mughal period with Sonia Sabri’s stunning ‘Mughal Miniatures’ as part of Birmingham Museums Trust’s celebration. At Aston Hall on Saturday, July 29, performers donning sumptuous costumes will bring traditional art of Indian and Persian miniature painting to life, through dance, music and puppetry, all in the stunning setting of Aston Hall’s Long Gallery and gardens.

Supported by Without Walls and co-commissioned by Applause, Brighton Festival, Certain Blacks and Hat Fair, Mughal Miniatures is just one of several events and exhilarating performances for the whole family during South Asian Heritage Month.#

From learning how to wear a saree (& there are 80 ways of wearing one!) to tasting amazing teas or touring parts of the city where South Asian communities have had a huge impact - there are several interesting activities lined up this month.

South Asian Heritage Month events:

1. Soho House: Sari Draping Workshop, Thu Jul 27

Come and immerse yourself in the beautiful art of wearing a sari, also known as a saree, in the authentic desi style!

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This workshop provides a friendly and inclusive environment, where you can explore the intricate techniques of sari draping. Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, this workshop welcomes all. It’s free and drop-in, so you can join anytime between 12pm and 3pm.

2. Aston Hall: Sonia Sabri Presents: Mughal Miniatures, Sat Jul 29

Get ready to be transported back in time to the Mughal period with Sonia Sabri’s ‘Mughal Miniatures’ – an exhilarating performance event for the whole family. Be mesmerised as performers donning sumptuous costumes bring to life the exquisite traditional art of Indian and Persian miniature painting, through dance, music and puppetry.

Mughal Miniatures will take place in both the grounds of Aston Hall and inside the astonishing Long Gallery. Performances will rotate throughout the day to give multiple opportunities to view both acts. Drop-in family arts activities will also be available throughout the day.

3. Aston Hall: The Art of Indian and Persian Miniature Painting, Sat Jul 29

Performance and panel discussion for South Asian Heritage Month

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Experience the mesmerising fusion of dance and music in Sonia Sabri Company’s latest performance, Mughal Miniatures. Drawing inspiration from the exquisite art of traditional Mughal painting, which originated from the ninth and 10th century Mughal courts and continues to be practised today, this production is a celebration of splendour and beauty. Join Artistic Director Sonia and esteemed academic experts, such as Dr Neelam Hussain from the University of Birmingham and Dr Malini Roy from the British Library, as they delve into the cultural significance of these remarkable works.

The stunning Mughal Miniatures. (Photo - Greta Zabulyte.)The stunning Mughal Miniatures. (Photo - Greta Zabulyte.)
The stunning Mughal Miniatures. (Photo - Greta Zabulyte.) | Greta Zabulyte.

4. Aston Hall: Aston Arts Club

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Aston Hall and let your creativity soar by joining us for a special event during South Asian Heritage Month. Our free drop-in club welcomes individuals of all ages to come together, relax, and engage in the joy of creating. Whether you’re an adult or a child, this club is suitable for everyone. Spaces are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to arrive early!

Taking place on the first Saturday of every month from 12 noon to 3pm, each session offers a unique arts activity.

On Saturday, August 5, in celebration of South Asian Heritage Month, we have the pleasure of hosting artist Daya Illustrations. Join us for a captivating workshop where you’ll have the opportunity to create your very own wearable piece of art. Using recycled saris and fabrics, Daya Illustrations will guide you in crafting customised textile badges or brooches.

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5. Soho House: Taste of Handsworth Walking Tour – various dates

Get ready for an exciting culinary adventure that will take your taste buds on a journey around the world! Discover the fascinating food history of Handsworth as you indulge in delicious Georgian treats and learn about the area’s rich cultural heritage.

South Asian Heritage Month Special, Sat Aug 12 - From sweet shops to Desi Pubs, South Asian communities have had a huge impact on Handsworth. This special tour will explore highlights of this cuisine, ending with a tasting platter at the Soho Tavern.

6. Soho House: Dancing for Wellbeing, Sat Aug 12

Experience the magic of dance during South Asian Heritage Month by joining artist Shreya Vadnerkar from Akademi for an exciting and welcoming dance workshop. Discover the intricacy of Bharatanatyam, a traditional Indian classical dance form, and let loose with some energetic Bollywood moves. This workshop is open to all ages and abilities, with a focus on beginners. Shreya invites you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new!

The workshops are free to attend and will take place at 11am, 12.30pm, and 2pm, with no booking required. Head over to the Visitors Centre to partake in this dynamic event.

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7. Soho House: From Bangladesh to Birmingham. An evening with Aftab Rahman MBE, Thu Aug 3

Immerse yourself in the rich history of the Bangladeshi community in Birmingham during South Asian Heritage Month by joining Aftab Rahman, CEO of Legacy West Midlands, as he shares his personal experiences and insights. With over three decades of work in the community, Aftab has been instrumental in developing, supporting, and championing the Bangladeshi community and the wider South Asian diaspora.

After the talk, there will be time to explore the exhibition Blood & Fire: Our Journey Through Vanley Burke’s History, providing further insights into the rich heritage of the South Asian community. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and connect with the vibrant history of Birmingham’s Bangladeshi community!

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