Presented by National Heritage Board of Singapore on 10th December 2020
Acceptance speech by Aravinth Kumarasamy, Artistic Director of Apsaras Arts Dance Company.
“Dear Guest of Honour, Minister of Culture, Community and Youth, Mr. Edwin Tong, Ms. Yeoh Chee Yan, Chairman of NHB, and Ms. Chang Hwee Nee, CEO of NHB. Good afternoon.
Receiving this award for Apsaras Arts has invoked us with the rasas of Endorsement, Encouragement and Excitement
This award is an endorsement to the vision of our founders Mr S Sathyalingam and Mrs Neila Sathyalingam, pioneers of the arts in Singapore, and for what they had envisioned for Apsaras Arts when they founded the institution 43 years ago in 1977. We humbly dedicate this award to their memory.
This award is an encouragement to the current generation of Art makers of Apsaras Arts for their dedication to preserve, evolve the art form to make it relevant and hand it down to our next generations of Singaporeans.
This award has also invoked excitement to all those who are involved in Indian Dance as its an honour to have Indian dance considered as one of the Intangible cultural heritage of our nation.
Indian dance has been practiced in Singapore for the past 100 years, and has its origins in India, and were very surprised at the excitement that was seen in India when this award was announced in Singapore a few months ago, and the Indian mainstream media covered this Singaporean story on the front pages of their daily newspapers. We are hopeful that our very own mainstream media too will be excited to cover traditional arts with excitement in the near future.
I would like to congratulate NHB for instituting this award to celebrate our very own heritage, giving the due recognition to its practitioners and custodians. Thank You.
I would like to congratulate our core team at Apsaras Arts – Our board members led by our chairman Ambassador K Kesavapany, our team of art makers – Seema Hari Kumar, Devapriya Appan, Mohanapriyan Thavarajah (who will be performing for you today) and to our dedicated art managers Vidhya Nair, Vijaya Nadesan and Sankari Elavalahan who are the back bone of our team, who are all present here today.
I would like to acknowledge and thank National Arts Council for holding our hands in this journey. Without their support, Apsaras Arts would have not be able to work on its mission to towards its vision. Thank you NAC.