SOAS University of London

London Middle East Institute

The Wandering Pastoralists of the Lower Indus Delta

Kala Sangam
John Gillow

Date: 30 January 2017Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 30 January 2017Time: 7:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Lecture

John Gillow author, lecturer, traveller and collector has spent more than 40 years collecting the folk textiles of Asia and Africa. Every year he collects and researches for several months in many parts of the globe.

John is author of “Indian Textiles”, “Traditional Indonesian Textiles”, “Arts and Crafts of India”, “World Textiles”, “African Textiles” and “Printed and Painted Textiles of Africa” published by Thames and Hudson and the British Museum. "Textiles of the Islamic World" is his latest book.

The evening will include a performance by Shammi Pithia - music composition and bansuri.

The dance of the Indus is an echo across the ages, a culture both distant and yet not so far, depicting a moment away from the present day, in one tangible moment.

The 5 great elements of nature the Panchaboothas are deeply linked to the Indus valley and its people and their lives.

Arising from the golden sands of the Indus valley, the beautiful dancer of Mohenjadaro comes alive to pay her reverence to the Panchaboothas (Water – Apah; Fire –Agni; Wind – Vayu; Space – Akash and Earth – Prithvi. She freezes in time but continues to lives in the minds of the generations to come.

Lecture to coincide with the exhibition Embroidered Tales and Woven Dreams 19 January – 25 March 2017.


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The Wandering Pastoralists of the Lower Indus Delta by John Zillow

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Indus Illusions performance

About the artists

Shammi Pithia – Music Composition and Bansuri 

Having charted no.1 in the iTunes World Music chart with his second album COSMIC, Shammi Pithia is building a solid name for himself as a creative composer and producer and has been performing around the world for the past 5 years. As well as recordings, Shammis music can also be found on TV having had music synced to BBC’s Rick Stein’s India, ITV4’s coverage of the Indian Premier League, BBC’s Felicity Kendal’s Indian Shakespeare Quest and MTV’s Teen Cribs. 

Away from his solo work, Shammi is part of the band FLUX who this year released their debut album ShadowLines (June 2016) that also shot to no.1 in the iTunes World Music Charts. 

Shammi has been giving concerts around the UK and Europe for the past few years as well as collaborating with a host of musicians and dancers to create new work. 

Arunima Kumar – Dancer 

Arunima Kumar is an award winning Kuchipudi performer, choreographer and teacher. She is known as a thought leader of her generation for her innovative , cutting edge and engaging performance style. Arunima is a disciple of eminent gurus Padmashree Guru Jaya Rama Rao and Vanashree Rao and has also learnt from Padmabhushan Smt Swapnasundari. In 2015, she was selected as one of the 20 dancers in the UK for Onedance UKs mentoring program 

Arunima is the founder and Artistic director of AKDC (Arunima Kumar Dance Company) , UKs largest Kuchipudi academy and recognised by Trinity college of Arts . They have given over 1000 performances at prestigious cultural festivals and venues in over 40 countries. 

Arunima has been given several awards and commissions. Arunima has choreographed and performed at major UK events and has also performed at international dance festivals 

Arunima is currently voicing the rights of women worldwide and her choreographic works are a response to women issues particularly on domestic violence, stereotypes and physicality of women. As an ARTIVIST, she has been given outstanding reviews by eminent dance critics in international media. 

Dr Geetha Upadhyaya - Concept, Vocals and Direction 

Born and raised in India, Geetha worked as a Consultant in Metabolic Medicine in India, Malaysia and since 1990 in the NHS. She also has a post graduate diploma in 

classical Indian dance and music in India from the legendary guru Sri K N Dandayuthapani Pillai and Mylapore Gowri. 

Coming to UK in 1990, she and her husband founded Kala Sangam in 1993 which is a Bradford based leading south Asian and intercultural arts company working nationally and internationally. Kala Sangam works with different communities to address various personal, social, health, disability and community challenges through creativity of south Asian arts. As the company’s artistic director, Geetha has been teaching, performing, creating new work and directing spoken word- dance and musical shows nationally and internationally. She has also set up companies for other dancers in UK and continues to be their mentor. 

Geetha has worked with diverse communities and a range of individual artists to main stream organisation eg members of the BBC Philharmonic, BBC (Songs of Praise), ITV (Real Lives), to choreograph, co-ordinated, programme many national and international events and performed at the Tate Modern, House of Parliament, Royal Society of Arts, Harewood House. 

Geetha is the Director of Axxonet Global Ltd UK which focuses on challenging medical issues such as Dementia, Cancer and medical diagnostics, Sanjeevani Health Care Trust in south India and Kashi Kalash in north India – both to address social and community health and welfare through creativity. 

Geetha has been on many educational, artistic and health boards and a few salient ones are National Network for Arts in Health, Asian Business Development Network, Learning Skills Council, Arts Council of England, Shipley College (Vice Chair) etc 

Geetha has been conferred awards and the salient ones are : 

  • 2016 – Order of the British Empire for services to south Asian Arts
  • 2016 – Niramaya award, Varanasi 
  • 2012 – Champion for Cultural Harmony by the Yorkshire Society 
  • 2011 – Artist of the Year- Foundation for Indian Performing Arts 
  • 2009 – Doctorate of Letters by Bradford University 
  • 2007 - Asian Woman of Achievement 
Kala Sangam 

Founded in 1993 by Dr Shripati Upadhyaya, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Dr Geetha Upadhyaya, a Consultant in Metabolic Medicine who also has a postgraduate degree in classical Indian dance/music, in the Sanskrit language, Kala is art & Sangam is a meeting point. 

The mission of Kala Sangam is ‘deliver outstanding South Asian and intercultural arts in contemporary Britain’

The vision of the company is to ‘ be a dynamic intercultural arts organisation valued by communities, artists and audiences. 

Thanks to the ACE Capital funds, Kala Sangam’s has developed the majestic Grade 2 listed Bradford City Centre building St Peter’s House into a centre of excellence for south Asian arts, culture and heritage. 

Kala Sangam’s administrative and main artistic programme is devised, co-ordinated and delivered from its base in St Peter’s House while most of its activities occur in West Yorkshire, the company tours its programme and outreach activities all over the north of UK and increasingly, nationally and internationally. 

Kala Sangam promotes and delivers south Asian and interdisciplinary arts (dance, music, visual arts, crafts and literature) through a creative, collaborative, innovative and accessible programme of work. We address social, educational, community, young people and intergenerational issues through creative means. Our work is dedicated for the physical and mental welfare of disadvantaged and deprived communities but we also work with other communities to achieve the inter-cultural and inter-community cohesiveness. 

Web : 

Organised by

Marian Chanduray (Bhukari), and the Brunei Gallery, SOAS in conjunction with the London Middle East Institute

Contact email:

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4046