Who’s at the Mela: Sonia Sabri’s Mughal Miniatures

Published on: 29 June 2023

Mughal Miniatures is a vibrant outdoor performance event for all the family, which celebrates and takes inspiration from the exquisite traditional art of Indian and Persian miniature painting.

Mughal Miniatures is upbeat and fun, with performers in sumptuous costumes creating spirited and colourful mini worlds of dance, music and puppetry. A series of pop-up, living pictures evoke scenes of Indian princely courts and lush gardens, and the glory of the Mughal period but with a contemporary twist which overturns expectations and surprises and delights passers-by.

We invite you to step back in time and join us at court to meet the feisty Queen, dance as if no one is watching in the monsoon rains, tame a cheeky peacock and hunt in the forest. But everything is not as it seems, our well-behaved characters have grown tired of their restrictive frames. With your help they can break free – not only of their pictorial frames but also of society’s expectations!

Indian miniature painting of the 9th and 10th century was hugely multicultural, drawing inspiration from many peoples and cultures. In the same way, this project, like all Sonia Sabri Company’s work, is about bringing different artists, forms and cultures into dialogue with each other and demonstrating their complementary nature. A poignant metaphor of our diverse society here in the UK and worldwide.

Mughal Miniatures has been supported by Without Walls and co-commissioned by Applause, Brighton Festival, Certain Blacks and Hat Fair.

Sonia Sabri Company was established by Artistic Director, Sonia Sabri, and Music Director, Sarvar Sabri, in 2002, working with the South Asian dance form of Kathak and Indian music as a base. Sonia Sabri Company joined the Arts Council of England National Portfolio of Organisations in 2012 and is an associate company of Birmingham Hippodrome.

The Company’s work pushes boundaries and collaborates across art forms such as dance, digital, theatre, visual arts, and live music striving to create dances and music that are responsive to audiences in the UK and internationally.