HT Woman 2018: Culture Masters - Hindustan Times

HT Woman 2018: Culture Masters

Hindustan Times, Lucknow | ByHindustan Times
Apr 21, 2018 02:40 PM IST

The honour will be bestowed on outstanding women photographers, painters and theatre artists.

Culture Masters-This honour will be bestowed on outstanding women photographers, painters and theatre artists.

Culture Masters(Representative image/
Culture Masters(Representative image/

Know your nominees...

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Anita Narain, Lucknow


A spiritually inclined soul, Anita has been practising art since childhood. She is a painter, bonsai practitioner, art collector and sitarist.

Death of her mother and sister shook her from inside and she sought respite in art and spirituality under her guru. Anita has dedicated her life to promoting art and culture.

She has conducted exhibitions in Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow. She is also a social worker. The money collected from her art is used for the welfare of society.

She is also a founder member of Nichin Bonsai and co-convenor of Intach Lucknow Chapter.

Annu Kalra, New Delhi


A spiritually inspired author, artist and guide. Spent years, as media, communication and brand consultant, started devoting most of her time and energy to facilitate transformation. In 2017, launched book ‘Aavirbhaav’. Coach and counselor, Annu conducts workshops, gives counseling sessions to people. Invited by diverse organizations to speak on ‘understanding spirituality and bringing greater peace’. Recently she received the prestigious Tathastu Award for her contribution to Art and the Hindi version of her Book ‘Aavirbhaav’, launched at the Award ceremony by the Chief Guest Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

Arpita Rajput, Lucknow


Arpita is working as a photographer for the last four years. She has worked for government of Uttar Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh tourism and many NGOs. She puts her heart and soul in photography and works beyond limits.

Besides photography, she also does cinematography for freelance projects.

She says that a photographer’s real test is when there is no repeat scene. Risk filters your photography skills. Currently, she is running a creative café ‘Asante café’ in Lucknow. She is also planning to give photography workshops and classes in future.

Neetu Singhal, Lucknow


Indian contemporary artist, art work famous for geometric abstraction with intense texture impression of the three-dimensional space and a sense of kinetic energy across the two-dimensional surface, these are the main hallmarks of my paintings. Visual attractiveness and flawless color application, my paintings have become widely known as part of the popular culture in spiritual organizations. My subtle, canvases held the very logic of Hindu ancient philosophy. Organized solo as well as group exhibitions. I also paint works for art of living Spiritual Organization for social awareness program Supported by Guruji Sri Sri Ravisankar.

Nilofer Sumaiya, Lucknow


Nilofer, software engineer at, Reliance Retail Ltd. Bangalore. Sketch artist, got appreciation on social media for her artwork. Believes in gender equality, passionate about art and painting. Painted the underpass of her college NIT. Rescued a lot of stray animals. She is a mining engineer but switched to software engineering because of her talent and got recognized by an MNC. She also got the best performer award in her company. There were a lot of problems in her way but she fought them religiously and overcame all of them.

Sanatkada Film Studio, Lucknow


Belonging to lower income communities of Lucknow, use photography as tool of empowerment. First Muslim women film studio, Uttar Pradesh. Have made short films on women from their community. Documented their work on women’s leadership including rag pickers, bodo women, domestic workers union. They have given training in photography to women from the community in Bodoland Assam. Aisha Khatoon uses camera for empowerment. Saira Khan, is a women photographer, manages social media. Kahkashan Baig is the first went from her community to work outside.

Dr. Tulika Sahu, Lucknow


Hailing from Tanda in Faizabad Dr Tulika Sahu wanted to fulfill her father’s dream of becoming a photographer; she enrolled herself in the College of Arts and Crafts, Lucknow University. Soon she went on to become the first woman in India to be awarded a PhD in photography making to Limca Book of Records and India Book of Records. Her area of expertise includes black and white analog photography and innovative darkroom processes. Awarded nationally and internationally she conducts free classes on photography for girls of her locality besides holding sessions of photography in various Navodaya Schools as well as NGOs.

Mridula Bharadwaj, Lucknow


She is an eminent, socially committed theatre artist of international repute. She has contributed as an organizer, actress, costume designer, social activist and theatre educationist. Trained from Bhatkhande in Bharatnatyam, folk dances and tabla, she is active in theatre since 1978 and is founder secretary of NIPA Rangmandali. Did lead roles in 50 plays with theatre personalities. She has also acted with foreign directors like Rolf Deneman, Laura Janti and Asil Rais. She has performed and conducted workshops in Norway, Finland, Germany, USA, Canada, Sweden and Pakistan. She works in schools too with Sajhi Dunia. She provides rehearsal plays in her residence to theatre groups. She is recipient of various national and international awards.

Nalini Bharti, Lucknow


First female national gold medalist, Uttar Pradesh in diving, first female photo journalist of Uttar Pradesh. Has written/ reported and photographed for Swatantra Bharat, Date Line newspaper, Hindustan Times, Kuber Newspaper and Rashtriya Sahara. She worked as a state head in Uttar Ujala newspaper.Covered lok sabha and vidhan sabha election campaign and Communal War held in old Lucknow and also covered Moharram Julus. She has also won many awards. She has a sharp and analytical approach towards news. She can easily cover any incident from different angles.

Nishi Rastogi, Lucknow


A professional Bharatnatayam performer, bollywood choreographer and Indian folk art promoter,have tried to keep Indian dance forms alive. Assistant director for Baal Grishm Kalin workshop organised by Kala Parisad- Delh. Judged a dance reality show “Flame of India” on Ishwar Channel and another reality, “Jhume Nache Gaye” for ETV UP. Associated with the movie “Miss Tanakpur hazir ho” as a choreographer. Received national and international awards. She has received many national as well as International awards and recognition like International -Doctor of letter from Kings University U.S, Golden Phoenix – The Cultural Achievement Award at Malasiya and Aquamarine Queen of Diamond Award at Singapore.

Parnika Mittal, Agra


Parnika Mittal, is a budding artist, holds endearment for modern and mixed media art. Renowned Tate Museum, London, Somerset House, London, La Louviere Museum, Brussels, Gallery of Los Angeles. Worked with Sonia Paul Designs, New Delhi as a design assistant and a freelance artist. She has made artworks for residential and high-end commercial properties, like Taj Jim Corbett, Taj Vivanta, New Delhi, Taj Safari Lodge, Bhandhavgarh. Her artworks have a peculiar insight of the modern society, capturing the beauty of aesthetics. The themes are majorly knitted around the kaleidoscopic lives of the females captured by her brushstrokes.

Poonam Kishor, Allahabad


Credited for coming up with an innovative and affordable alternative for painting on zinc plates, Poonam Kishor developed Broomia Art in 1998. She used bromide papers and exceptional etching technique to reduce the cost of painting. Since she was 12, her sketches and paintings appeared on covers of magazines along with book covers for award winning writers.

A former assistant professor of fine arts at BBK DAV College she held special workshops in Pingalwara (Amritsar) for children with mental disabilities. She also painted the works of many famous poets and has done a series of 550 canvases on Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s Madhushala. Winner of many awards she also designed a special creative pen for sketching.

Sarah Taniska Nethan, Lucknow


She is a 23-year-old fashion designer who is using her creativity to make a social impact and is pursuing master’s from NIFT, Mumbai. Sarah applied her creativity and design skills to alleviate some of the challenges of economically weaker sections. For life-saving Kangaroo Care, she designed a socially viable baby carrier “Sangamm” to honour the union of the mother with her baby. It ensured that mothers give Kangaroo Care to their babies round-the-clock while being mobile and carry out their duties and household chores being hands-free. Her work was appreciated by newborn specialists from the World Health Organisation and around the world. She is currently designing a self-help group based model for the mass production of Sangamm.

Sima Modi, Lucknow


After settled her children she took up theatres. In just three years, she has acted in 12 stage plays which had multiple shows across the country. Recently, she got the best actress award in the All-India Theatre Festival in Dhanbad, Jharkhand. She established an NGO Srijan Shakti Welfare Society to take theatre to the masses and work for the cause of women, cleanliness, health and hygiene. She visits tribal areas in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and UP and works for the welfare of women and children. Sima organises health and education camps for the families of police personnel. She has bagged several awards.

Smriti Dutta, Gorakhpur


Kathak dancer is currently employed as dance director at NE Railways Kala Samiti and office superintendent at CPO’s office, has earned wide acclaim during her dance career spanning over 20 years. She learnt dancing from Pt Ravi Shankar Mishra and obtained Prabhakar in tabla. She has imparted training to hundreds of girls who wanted to make career in kathak.

Smriti was among the judges in recently concluded Gorakhpur Mahotsav and was honoured in 2016 and 2018 edition of Mahotsav. She was a recipient of Kala Alankaran Samman 1996 and General Manager Railway Week Award for culture in 2017.

Varni Shukla, Bareilly


Pursuing bachelor’s degree for Varni painting is a passion. She has participated in many national and regional level exhibitions, workshops and competitions. She has received several awards and prizes like Divyashree Memorial Award 2017 by Srijan Lok Art Foundation, gold medal in 10th CCF International Painting Competition-2017 by Charu Castle Foundation, first prize in state-level painting competition by Gangasheel College, , and the all-India junior competition-2017 by Bharat Kala Kendra. And has received highly recommend Jury Award in Black and White All-India Art Contest-2017 by Sanskriti Art, Mumbai, prize in all-India online art competition-2017 by Natraj Art Aone and first prize in at voting awareness programme- 2017.

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