Some of the recipients of the inaugural Eastern Eye Arts Culture and Theatre Awards (ACTAs) spoke after collecting their prizes…
Artist Shanti Panchal (ACTA arts winner) said it was bril- liant to win. He often dedicates his time to working with local schools and colleges to get students interested in the arts at a young age.
“There is plenty of talent,” Panchal said, but added that he is all too aware of the Asian ‘stereotype’ of parents wanting their children to pursue a career in ‘traditional’ subjects such as medicine or accounting.
“So, sadly a lot of talented students give up what could have been a flourishing fine arts career,” Panchal said.
melanie Lewis collected the ACTA dance prize on behalf of Sonia Sabri, the artistic director of the Sonia Sabri Dance Company. Lewis said:“Although kathak dance tends to be traditional, Sonia tries to give it her own unique twist, giving this age old dancing style a modern face, taking inspiration from other contemporary dance styles such as flamenco.
“Making kathak fit in with the 21st century means that Sonia is introducing technology into her work as well as different styles of music from classical to guitar.”
Ram Shergill, who picked up the ACTA for photography, has done shoots for the fashion bible Vogue, and also worked with top names in fashion, among them Philip Treacy, the late designer Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow.
Shergill recalled that, like other Asians in his generation, he was under pressure from his parents to study medicine or mathematics, but he pursued his passion for photography.
“Be original and stay passionate,” is his advice to budding photographers.
Shergill is working with a contemporary gallery ahead of a show in October.
The Best Actress winner (film) Kiran So- nia Sawar said she was initially worried about starring in Murdered By My Father. She feared that there might have been a backlash as the topic of honour killings was not one that was openly dis- cussed in the community.
“But I was pleasantly surprised by its success,” she said. The actress, whose parents were against the idea of their daughter entering the film industry, described her win as amazing. She said as a young and relatively new ac- tress, she had much to learn.