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Treasured memories sparkle thanks to Derby artist

With support from Arts Council, a Derby-based artist is helping people unlock and share stories of their family and heritage – inspired by jewellery.

Anisha Parmar is a jewellery designer and multi-disciplinary artist who is influenced by the rich tapestry of South Asian culture, blending traditional influences with contemporary design. 

Thanks to Arts Council’s Developing your Creative Practive fund, she has been working on Empowered Adornment- a new venture giving people the chance to share stories connected to their gold jewellery and family heirlooms.

Inspired by Anisha’s own heritage spanning three continents (India, East Africa and Britain) the project looks at jewellery collected through journeys of migration; gold as a woman’s security within the context of historical and contemporary diasporas; and adornment to express cultural heritage.

Documenting the stories of members of the South Asian community, and jewellery which has been collected or handed down, Anisha encouraged people to talk about what the pieces represent to them, aiming to keep their stories alive as an important part of British history. Starting with a story, memory or object, she designed jewellery to tell a personal tale, using materials such as acrylic, and has recorded podcasts documenting her process.

Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director for Arts Council England, said: “We’re pleased to be supporting artists such as Anisha through our Developing your Creative Practice scheme, and to see this project, which gives people across the country the chance to share and commemorate their unique stories.
“We’re proud to champion the role creativity plays in bringing history to life and hope Anisha’s work inspires more people to explore their heritage in a creative way.”

Artist Anisha Parmar said: “I am so grateful for the Developing Your Creative Practice grant - it’s truly allowed me to explore my artistic practice and I have now found my purpose through this project. I now see my role as an artist to document stories with the diaspora before they are lost and to embed them into British History and am now building on this project, working with local cultural organisations to explore this work further and engage diverse audiences to explore adornment and identity.”

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