Piali Ray, bringing south Asian arts to Birmingham. By Raekha Prasad for The Guardian
The past 20 years of Piali Ray's life are something of a parable of how Britain woke up to its new communities. At 25, she left her native Calcutta with her husband for Birmingham where, knowing no-one, she felt isolated and miserable. Today, she is a celebrated figure within Birmingham's performance arts and a key driver of Britain's flourishing south Asian arts scene.
Ray's journey from India to membership of the arts establishment found no trodden path. As the founder and director of Sampad, an agency aiming to produce and promote arts originating in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, she has forged her own.
Her expertise is now sought by Britain's arts institutions. "The mainstream has opened up," Ray says. She sits on the music panel and the cultural diversity committee of the arts council and is a board member of the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Internationally, Sampad is renowned from the US to Iran. click for more