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South Asians in the Arts: Diaspora, Alliances and Collaborations Across Communities



Join us for an informative panel discussion with four award winning South Asian artists, writers, performers, educators, administrators and practitioners who will provide an insider’s view on the connections between community, arts practice and administration, and alliances with Aboriginal and other racialized artists and communities in Toronto and beyond.

The event will take place in the Leigha Lee Browne Theatre on November 3, 2011 from 10:00am to 12:00pm. All are welcome to attend.



Lata Pada, the artistic director of SAMPRADAYA Dance Creations has created one of Canada’s leading and progressive dance organizations. She has initiated unique arts learning, community outreach, cultural leadership and mentorship projects for performing artists. She has trained a generation of dancers who perform professionally on international stages. Lata is an articulate speaker and workshop leader - through her art, she has served youth, new immigrants and marginalized communities. Lata is the recipient of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the President of India, the highest civilian honor for non-resident Indians. In addition she was honoured with the Order of Canada in January 2009 and holds the distinction of being the first South Asian artist to receive this award. 

Seema Jethalal, the managing director at Regent Park Arts & Cultural Centre has been dedicated to the arts since birth and is committed to cultivating Toronto’s arts and culture scene and inspiring social change in the process. Seema plays a vital role in Arts organizations and is a member of the Civic Action’s Emerging Leaders Network, Artreach Toronto’s Community Advisory Committee and the Neighbourhood Arts Network Advisory Committee. Seema recently transitioned out of her role as Managing Director of Manifesto Community Projects – a non-profit arts organization that was recently presented with the Toronto Arts Foundation’s "Arts for Youth" award and the Toronto Community Foundation’s "Vital Ideas" award. 

Noora Sagarwala has been working in the performing, literary and urban arts for the last 12 years and has been involved in the planning and execution of 14 performing arts festivals. Noora has held positions at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, the National Arts Centre, the Canada Dance Festival, the CDF’s urban arts festival (HIP HOP 360) and the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Noora joined Manifesto Community Projects in June 2011 as its Managing Director, and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the CanAsian International Dance Festival and the National Committee of the Emerging Arts Professional Network. 

Nisha Ahuja, an actor and theatre artist writer, and youth workshop designer/facilitator, graduated from York University with a Specialized Honours in Theatre (Creative Ensemble) with a minor in International Development. She has performed and created a range of classical, contemporary, and original work in Canada, the Netherlands, and India. Nisha was an actor with the Resident Acting Company of the National Art Centre for 2009-2010 season. Nisha wrote Cycle of a Sari and developed her one-woman show Yoga Cannibal. As an arts educator, Nisha has had the privilege of working with a diverse range of youth in Canada and India with renowned theatre companies, urban and rural schools, as well as NGOs and grassroots community organizations.


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