Doria Tichit fills us in on the role of The Bagri Foundation.
he Bagri Foundation is a UK-registered charity established in 1990 in order to provide philanthropic assistance through education, relief work and the preservation of Asia’s cultural heritage. In 2012, under the impetus of Dr Alka Bagri, the cultural arm of the foundation was further strengthened. I joined the foundation as Head of Arts and Culture in 2015, and as an art historian specialising in South Asian art, I am delighted to be involved in the development of its cultural programme. We commission projects and partner with organisations and individuals from the fields of art and academia.
We are passionate about fostering dialogues between cultures and disciplines and are thrilled to support the world première of Ravi Shankar’s opera, Sukanya. This ground-breaking project reveals how classical Indian and Western music connect on a deep level and how stimulating such an exchange can be. We aim, with a ten-part online mini-series The Music Room by David Murphy, to familiarise the audience with key musical concepts to further appreciate Ravi Shankar’s extraordinary vision. The foundation also encourages learning through music with the Deccan Heritage Foundation via the project Roots of Fire, launched this January with a concert with David Murphy and Amjad Ali Khan.
We believe in the power of collaboration. Working with the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, we have developed courses on traditional Asian arts in order to preserve techniques and to inform contemporary practices. Through the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival we celebrate pan-Asian writing. Our interest in independent Indian cinema is reflected in our headline sponsorship of the London Indian Film Festival and we are particularly proud to support the Satyajit Ray short film competition. Our long-term partnership with Soumik Datta Arts led us to commission a documentary film series on Indian Folk Music, Tuning 2 You ‒ Lost Musicians of India, which will be aired later this year. The year 2017 has begun with a new collaboration with Baithak UK that has enabled us to bring Shabana Azmi’s latest theatre production Broken Images to the UK.
Connecting people and working closely with artists and scholars is at the heart of the Bagri Foundation’s approach. We had the pleasure of bringing together storyteller Vayu Naidu and singer Meeta Pandit to illustrate the concepts of rasa last year and we are currently exploring collaborations with John Suchet and Aruna Sairam. We regularly organise lectures and talks on a wide range of subjects and encourage multi-disciplinary projects such as Gandhara Connections of the Classical Art Research Centre, University of Oxford. We are currently in conversation with world-renowned institutions regarding the preservation and digitisation of ancient manuscripts to make them accessible to all.
I am passionate about promoting art. Since I completed my PhD dedicated to North Indian temple art in 2011, I have regularly lectured on South Asian art at SOAS, the V&A and Sotheby’s Institute of Art and had the great pleasure of bringing Pulse magazine readers to India. Today, I am convinced as ever of the importance of arousing curiosity, sharing knowledge and expanding horizons, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to do so with the Bagri Foundation.