Arts Visionary Dr Geetha Upadhyaya accepts Queen’s Honours Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her notable contributions to Arts and Cultural Diversity…writes Ragasudha Vinjamuri
Dr Geetha Upadhyaya has received Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her notable contributions to Arts and Cultural Diversity. The Award has been conferred by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
Dr Geetha is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Kala Sangam, a reputed arts organisation established with an aim to deliver high quality South Asian art forms and increase appreciation of the cultural traditions of South Asia.
Sharing her experience with Asian Lite, she says “I am thankful to the Palace for recognising my work. Receiving the honours was very humbling, it is good for South Asian arts and cultural diversity. I feel that it is for the whole arts community. From a full time medical career to full time arts is a big change for me. In the last two decades, I have used arts for health related work, for example story-telling for deaf children involving Makaton and Indian dance.
“We have published five books including an Urdu Book translated into English: Cinders in the Wind. The book ‘Unlocking Creativity’ included poetry by depressed people which was read in front of audience creating a platform and visibility for them. I am grateful for the faith and support of Patrons, Trustees, audiences, parents and other artistes. It came as a surprise I did not even know about the nomination”.
She opines that a high quality of work needs to be continuously delivered. “The more people hear and see the work, the better understanding they have of that work- leading to recognition”, she says.
Underpinning the collaborative work that she encourages, she says “We promote each other’s work at Kala Sangam. We want arts and artistes to grow, therefore working with others is at the heart. In a place like Bradford, it is very challenging to promote South Asian arts”.
Her input for others is to be focused. “The passion must lead you to perseverance, patience gives you power to eventually reach the goal”. “Promotion is important. Keep doing harder work. There is a great need for the delivery and promotion of arts. Hurdles may occur, however never give up.”