• Sunday, September 24, 2023


Ugandan Asian exhibition in Leicester wins Museums + Heritage Awards

The exhibition served as the centerpiece of a comprehensive programme of events that marked the anniversary of those who fled the Idi Amin regime

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

A groundbreaking exhibition that commemorated the arrival of thousands of Ugandan Asians in Leicester back in 1972 has been awarded joint best ‘Temporary or Touring Exhibition’ at the prestigious Museums + Heritage Awards in London, sharing the honour with English Heritage, a press release said.

At the highly anticipated award ceremony, often referred to as the ‘Oscars of the museum world,’ the winners were revealed on May 10.

Titled “Rebuilding Lives – 50 Years of Ugandan Asians in Leicester,” the exhibition served as the centerpiece of a comprehensive programme of events that marked the significant anniversary of those who fled the oppressive regime of the notorious dictator, Idi Amin.

It also paid tribute to the remarkable contributions made by the Asian community to Leicester’s vibrant culture and thriving economy over the past five decades.

Produced by Navrang, an arts organisation based in Leicester, in collaboration with the city council and largely carried out by a dedicated group of volunteers, Rebuilding Lives stood out as the first South Asian exhibition of its kind to be shortlisted for the prestigious awards.

According to the press release, the judges were effusive in their praise for the exhibition, recognising its innovation and impact.

Additionally, the success of Rebuilding Lives extended beyond critical acclaim, captivating the hearts of visitors as well.

Furthermore, throughout its nine-month tenure at the Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, the exhibition drew in a staggering 167,000 visitors, proving to be a resounding success in terms of public engagement.

Ranjan Saujani, acting chair of Navrang, said, “We were honoured to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award, but to win is absolutely amazing! It’s a great way to acknowledge the hard work the team have put in to creating, developing and delivering a truly special exhibition. It’s the perfect way to end the project!”

Nisha Popat of Navrang described winning the award as a remarkable achievement, considering the tough competition and the difference in budgets. She expressed their initial disbelief at winning and regarded the award as the perfect culmination. The exhibition’s growth, its profound impact on the communities involved, and its recognition by the museum and heritage sector filled them with pride.

While Nishil Saujani from Navrang expressed deep gratitude to all those who contributed to the exhibition and allowed them to share their stories.

He extended thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Leicester City Council, the Navrang team, and their dedicated volunteers for their invaluable support.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby too expressed his pride in the recognition of Rebuilding Lives – 50 Years of Ugandan Asians in Leicester with the prestigious award. He emphasised his determination to commemorate this landmark anniversary in the development of modern Leicester with a remarkable exhibition in the city’s flagship museum. He expressed his absolute delight that Navrang successfully met the challenge and created something truly special.

He said, “As well as commemorating the resilience and resourcefulness of thousands of people who were displaced and forced to start all over again, the exhibition celebrated the huge contribution that Leicester’s Ugandan Asian population has made to the city’s identity and culture over the last 50 years.”


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