Estd. 1996. Registered Charity since 2010
KALA’s origin was from a group of families who did not want to lose the art and cultural heritage of Kerala even if they are permanently settled in Britain. Our main aims were to develop it as a strong chain of likeminded families and as a means for the next generation to relate to the cultural roots, thus preserving the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. It is not accidental, that the association was named as it is now. The name was chosen with the acronym “KALA”, which spells out the word that signifies arts and literature in Malayalam and Sanskrit, in mind.
From the very beginning KALA aimed to advance education and awareness about all aspects of India and in particular, the state of Kerala,, including language, arts, performing arts, literature and its cultural heritage, particularly among children and young people in the United Kingdom thus contributing to the understanding and tolerance of different cultures, promotion of social and racial harmony, for the enrichment of multicultural United Kingdom; and to encourage, exhibit and promote the innate talents of young and upcoming British Keralite artists by providing them facilities for displaying of their talents and sponsoring their participation where necessary in public venues in the United Kingdom or such other places.
In 2010, KALA, the constitution of KALA described four aspirations for KALA, which defines it: Promotion of Keralan and Indian diasporic heritage as a means of promoting cultural integration and social harmony; preservation of heritage through cultural education; youth development through creative activity; and to support and promote the UK artists, particularly young British Keralan artists, by providing them a platform for displaying their talents.
KALA has been successfully progressing in realising these aspirations: Every year, KALA holds an annual day which is a reminder of Keralan heritage to people here in the UK, an event where Keralan arts and literature are celebrated by local as well as international artists, and an affirmation of unity in cultural diversity. The profile of the chief guests and guests of honour, who accept the invitation to attend the KALA annual days, is a sign of how KALA is perceived by the diaspora in the UK as well as the general public in Kerala. They include Chief Ministers of Kerala like PK Vasudevan Nair, eminent author and Member of Indian Parliament like Sashi Tharoor, award winning poets and writers like ONV Kurup, K Satchidanandan, Professor Madhusoodhanan Nair, and Sarah Joseph, stalwarts of Kerala cinema world including actors like Madhu and Svetha Menon, directors like Major Ravi, and music directors like Pandit Ramesh Narayan, and Jayachandran. Few years back KALA instituted an award, KALA puraskaaram, for those making outstanding contributions to the heritage arts of Kerala. KALA puraskaaram is now considered as the foremost diasporic honour an artist can receive.
A permanent record of KALA is maintained in its flagship publication, the Palm Leaf. The pages of Palm Leaf have seen writings from some of the greatest writers in Kerala.
The real success of KALA is offering this rich environment in which the new generation can thrive, thus fulfilling the dream at its inception.