What is Attracting Young British Asians to the Creative Arts?

Imagine you were a South Asian parent with traditional views and your son or daughter tells you… I want to become an international DJ or a well-renowned model. How would you react? This is a difficult conversation that young British Asians are having with their parents right now.

What are the Creative Arts?

It is difficult to define the creative arts but it seems young British Asians are becoming drawn to this area of creativity as a way of expressing themselves and connecting with their South Asian culture. From independent music to spoken word poetry, South Asians are slowly making their ways towards the creative industry, combining the South Asian and Western art forms. The younger generation of British Asians especially millennials and Generation Z use their 'artistic talent, a flair for design or a desire to perform', as described on the Prospects website, to feel at home in the creative industry.

A Few Examples of the Creative Arts (Which One Applies to You?)

  • Radio/TV

  • Drama/Theatre

  • Professional Dancer/Choreographer

  • Modelling

  • Music

  • Creative Writing/Spoken Word Poetry

  • Journalism

  • Painting/Drawing/Graphic Designer

Am I a Creative Person?

Yes, I believe I am a creative person - I have a way with words to influence and even inspire people, as you can tell, which is crucial in the creative arts. My art is my words and my canvas is the page I am currently typing on, which works perfectly for me because I have zero musical talent.

Here are a few young British Asians who are in the creative arts sector that I reached out to on social media to discover what attracted them to this industry.

Faisal Hussain, at www.faisaltheartist.co.uk, is a talented fine artist and creative producer who has created murals for the National Health Service. He has also done significant humanitarian work in the South Asian community through his role as a volunteer Bridge Builder for organisations such as Peterborough Presents.

“Art has been therapy for me since I’ve been young. I believe creativity helps people solve problems and empowers both individuals and communities to develop. We need to as Asians and as humans embrace our creative elements”.

Harkiran Virdee, instructor and professional dancer at The Bollywood Co. has performed at incredible live music events such as the BritAsia Concert 2018 and Asian Network Live 2018. She incorporates contemporary dance and traditional Indian folk dances into her simple but enjoyable dance routines which even I could follow.

“The influence of my parents has been massive, my dad is the Chairman of a Bhangra group and my mother was a Gidda teacher who used to choreograph and run rehearsals. I grew up in those rehearsals. What has encouraged me to continue is that I have never been stopped, so my parents have always encouraged me - my dad’s advice to me has always been whatever you do in your life and whatever path you choose to take, do it with your full enthusiasm”.

Natasha Madan currently works freelance in television development for ITV, having done backstage work for popular television shows such as Come Dine with Me and Eastenders.

“When I was young I would always create ideas for shows/adverts/cartoons in my head and having always been pretty creative, I sought it out as a career. Being from an Asian background, I hope that I can help diversify television and increase Asian representation on our screens”.

Simran Randhawa is one of the few British Asian women to model for international high street fashion brands such as H&M and Nike. She is also the Assistant Politics Editor at gal-dem.com which is an online magazine giving a voice to women from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

“Hey Balraj, if I’m honest there wasn’t anything in particular that drew me in, it was just a natural alignment of where my interests lay”.

Aishwarya Mohan is a blogger at AllThingsLegal and an aspiring solicitor with a great legal career ahead of her.

“I’ve always been a pretty creative person, I grew up performing the Indian Carnatic violin on stage since I was five years old in front of 200+ crowds”.

Ammar Ebrahim is a talented Broadcast Journalist who won the BBC News Rising Star of the Year Award in 2019 for producing powerful and captivating short films such as ‘My Turban Journey’ about a Sikh man reclaiming his faith and identity.

“I think it’s a real privilege to be able to hear and share really personal stories that have had a huge impact on someone’s life. I feel by working in the creative industries I can have a real impact on telling part of the British Muslim/Asian story that does not get the right coverage and analysis”.

Watch Ebrahim's short film 'My Turban Journey' below:

Sukhjit Sukhi, a British Asian artist and graphic designer who is a straight-talking Yorkshireman, has an outstanding range of art and a clothing line (inktensive.com) that major retailers wished they had produced.

“Art is a Meditation”

Mesmeraki aka Sanjeet Singh Bhachu, at www.mesmeraki.com, is a true artist based in Birmingham, who has not forgotten his roots and Sikh identity when incorporating vibrant Indian inspired designs into his artwork which is becoming increasingly popular in the UK and overseas.

“I was always comforted by a pencil and a piece of paper and that just happened to grow with me, making it what it is today”.

Karanjee Gaba is a Turbaned Sikh Model of Afghan heritage who has modelled for international fashion brands such as GQ India and Vogue… this Singh will always be stylish.

“We have always seen Singhs do some fashion related stuff, but I wanted to represent on a global level. It has been a long journey stepping into the industry bit by bit. Everywhere I go I get asked why I don’t cut my hair, why I wear my turban and what is the purpose of carrying the 5Ks. So through this, I am able to spread Sikhi and represent globally through catwalks, magazines and whatever there is for me to do”.

Through this article, I wanted to show collaboration is better than competition, especially in the South Asian Community. We mustn't limit ourselves to the traditional career paths, but instead, branch out and make our mark in the creative industry.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this article.

Stay strong and stay safe.


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