5 South Asian Art Exhibitions to Attend in the UK

Let’s look at the top South Asian art exhibitions in the UK that are using innovation to produce enticing shows full of culture and history.

5 South Asian Art Exhibitions to Attend in the UK

It honours renowned figures from London’s past

Take a fascinating journey through the diverse world of history and culture as we showcase some of the most intriguing South Asian art exhibitions in the UK.

Visitors can comprehensively understand South Asia’s diverse cultural milieu through shows that explore human psychology and historical tales.

Every exhibition aims to immerse viewers beyond convention and location into a realm of ingenuity, imagination, and meaningful narrative.

Come along on this enlightening adventure as we reveal the complex histories and exquisite beauty of South Asian craftsmanship in all its grandeur.

Journey of the Mind

5 South Asian Art Exhibitions to Attend in the UK

Arts organisation WSWF and Arts Council England present Journey of the Mind.

This contemporary initiative brings Sikh heritage and knowledge to the forefront, igniting conversations and promoting exchange.

The exhibition seeks to cultivate curiosity about the internal journey of the mind and its positive impacts on individuals’ lives.

In these challenging times, individuals grapple with the constant pressure of a digitally connected yet often isolating world, seeking peace, happiness, and love externally.

The exhibition acknowledges the impact of COVID-19 on mental health, compounded by concerns about environmental health and social injustice, which have left many feeling despondent.

Through exploring the teachings of Sikh masters, the art exhibition offers pathways to peace amidst turmoil through focused practice, community engagement, and selfless service.

Canadian artist Kanwar Singh’s digital and handmade drawings, alongside animator Christian Wood’s short films, depict stories of individuals who have achieved spiritual enlightenment.

When: February 21 – March 3, 2024
Where: Cromwell Place, South Kensington, London, SW7 2JE

Find out more here

Unforgotten Lives

5 South Asian Art Exhibitions to Attend in the UK

Unforgotten Lives depicts the narratives of Londoners hailing from African, Caribbean, Asian, and Indigenous backgrounds, who were in the city between 1560 and 1860, as documented in London’s historical archives.

These stories span a spectrum of experiences, with themes of love, entrepreneurship, prosperity, prejudice, adversity, resilience, and defiance.

The exhibition displays evidence of London’s diversity with records dating back five centuries.

It honours renowned figures from London’s past while introducing lesser-known individuals unearthed from the archives.

Among the figures are individuals like John Morgan, a man from Bengal who accompanied a cheetah to London in the 1760s and Prince Dederi Jaquoah, who underwent baptism in 1611.

Drawing from centuries of archival materials, Unforgotten Lives offers glimpses into the lives of 3,300 people uncovered by the research project, highlighting their significance in London’s history.

When: April 5, 2023 – March 27, 2024
Where: LMA, 40 Northampton Road, EC1R 0HB

Find out more here

Burnt Roti

5 South Asian Art Exhibitions to Attend in the UK

Burnt Roti is a trailblazing feminist publication crafted by individuals of South Asian descent.

It serves as a platform for discussions surrounding identity and mental health.

Since its inception in 2016, the magazine has reached households worldwide. Its founder, Sharan Dhaliwal, hails from Southall and Hounslow.

This art exhibition casts a spotlight on three influential transgender and/or non-binary South Asians: Shash Appan (she/her), Sabah Choudrey (they/he), and Shiva Raichandani (they/them).

Shash, Sabah, and Shiva take centre stage in the latest issue of Burnt Roti, which also features essays, photography, illustrations, and poetry from the LGBTQIA+ South Asian community.

Copies of Burnt Roti are available for visitors to peruse as part of the exhibition.

When: December 19, 2023 – May 4, 2024
Where: Gunnersbury Park Museum, Popes Lane, London, W5 4NH

Find out more here

New Narratives in Photography

5 South Asian Art Exhibitions to Attend in the UK

New Narratives in Photography is an exhibition that shows the latest perspectives in Pakistani photography.

The exhibit features the works of four talented artists: Asad Ali, Hira Noor, Ume Laila, and Waleed Zafar.

Each artist uses photography in innovative ways to explore socially conscious themes.

Their images touch on elements such as community, public spaces, and diaspora experiences.

These artists are from Pakistan and are currently taking part in an international residency program facilitated by GRAIN Projects in Birmingham and Tasweerghar in Lahore, Pakistan.

When: February 8 – May 27, 2024
Where: MAC, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH

Find out more here

Beyond the Page

5 South Asian Art Exhibitions to Attend in the UK

Beyond the Page presents a remarkable array of historical artworks.

The collection depicts battle scenes, romantic encounters, spiritual allegories, and intricate portrayals of nature sourced from significant collections.

Many of these pieces, due to their delicate nature, are rarely exhibited.

They are juxtaposed with contemporary works by artists from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA.

South Asian miniature painting is characterised by its meticulous craftsmanship, intimate dimensions, and rich storytelling.

Beyond the Page sheds light on Britain’s involvement in its evolution since the 1600s.

It examines how, from the 1900s onward, artists have expanded their boundaries beyond illuminated manuscripts to include experimental forms like installations, sculptures, and films.

It’s estimated that there are approximately 100,000 South Asian miniatures held in museums, galleries, and library collections across the UK.

However, due to their historic past, they are only seen in exclusive shows.

Therefore, Beyond the Page provides the perfect opportunity for audiences to witness these paintings. 

Visitors can also explore a new display case featuring a curated selection of magnificent Mughal miniature paintings plus much more. 

When: February 11 – June 2, 2024
Where: The Box, Tavistock Place, Plymouth, PL4 8AX

Find out more here

The finest South Asian art exhibitions in the UK are a tribute to the continuing force of creativity and human expression.

Every show provides a different window into the spirit of South Asia, from the deft brushstrokes of small paintings to the moving stories caught in photographs.

These exhibitions serve as a constant reminder of the importance of art in forming our perception of the world.

As we bid farewell to these extraordinary exhibitions, may their legacy continue to inspire and enrich our lives for years to come.

Balraj is a spirited Creative Writing MA graduate. He loves open discussions and his passions are fitness, music, fashion, and poetry. One of his favourite quotes is “One day or day one. You decide.”

Images courtesy of Instagram & Twitter.

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