After running Art Asia for over 36 years, the founder and Chief Executive Mr Vinod Desai MBE, has announced he will be leaving Art Asia.

Vinod started Art Asia from very humble beginnings in a small room in Northam, teaching students to play South Asian music. Vinod has since led Art Asia to become one of the City’s cultural leaders with many and varied successful activities, events and concerts. In 2001 Art Asia presented the first Southampton Mela Festival and it has become Southampton’s biggest free festival, attracting over 25,000 people in recent years.

Chair of the Board of Directors / Trustees, Mrs Dahlia Jamil said “Vinod leaves a great legacy behind him. Over the years Vinod’s passion and dedication has built a unique arts organisation that has supported and encouraged many talented individuals. Under his custodianship Art Asia has gone from strength to strength promoting South Asian Arts to a wide and diverse audience. We wish Vinod every success in his future endeavours and look forward to welcoming a new Creative Director to Art Asia to carry forward Art Asia’s mission”.

Vinod Desia MBE said “We have just received news of four years funding from Arts Council England and with Art Asia’s future renewed it feels the right time to invite new creative vision to take Art Asia through to 2022. It has been an amazing 36 years, with many amazing people. Thank you to all our staff and trustees
past and present, thank you to our funders and partners, it has been a pleasure working with you all. Most of all and at the heart of Art Asia has been our members, audiences and participants, thank you for your support and friendship over the last 36 years. I have throughly enjoyed it, goodbye and many thanks.”

As well as the Southampton Mela Festival, Art Asia has presented large-scale
performances like Bollywood Baraat, 30 Ragas in 30 Days and Giant Rangoli. Since the beginning Art Asia has run classes in South Asian music and dance giving people the opportunity to explore their heritage or be introduced to new cultures. Many musicians, dancers and actors started their careers with Art Asia and have gone on to have great success around the world.

Vinod Desai MBE is going to explore his own musical interests and spend more time with his grandchildren; he leaves a 36 year legacy which sees Art Asia woven through the City’s cultural identity. Art Asia heard at the end of June that they would receive funding from the Arts Council England for the next four years as an Arts Council NPO, ensuring the Southampton Mela Festival will continue. Art Asia will now begin to look for a new Creative Director. The Southampton Mela Festival will take place on Saturday 15th July 2017.