Nottingham MP Nadia Whittome speaks about her South Asian heritage during Mela festival

With the Nottingham Mela festival entering its final week, Nottingham south MP Nadia Whittome spoke on the newly formed Nottingham Arts Mela Podcast.

She discussed her experiences at the festival and her wider South Asian heritage, as the Mela festival is held yearly in Nottingham and is the oldest South Asia festivals in Europe.

Since 1988, it has always been held outdoors at locations such as the Arboretum, Castle and the New Art Exchange.  Although for the first time it will be held online in a series of event spanning over July and August with the final event to be held on August 23.

Nadia Whittome, Nottingham MP, spoke about the different dimensions of art and culture. (Youtube: Nottingham Arts Mella)

Nadia spoke on the podcast about how she is proud of Nottingham’s thriving art and culture scene, which has helped her become the person she is today. As a young child growing up, art was always a favourite subject of her but she felt like it was a “white subject and for privileged people”, she says.

The Mela has helped open her eyes to the wider art community such as that of the South Asian Society. Nadia is hopeful that the near future will provide an opportunity for the government and local authorities to improve funding to the arts, as we move on from the coronavirus pandemic.

She believes that art and culture enrich our lives and allow people to express and find themselves.

 School, galleries and festivals should make an effort to break the stigma of white washed art and embrace culture from around the world, the Mela festival is a perfect example of celebrating global culture.

Nottingham is city build on exploring and accepting culture, this is solidified in 2015 when Nottingham was named a permanent UNESCO World city of Literature.

By Callum Boddington

Featured image credit: Nottingham Arts Mela

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