Sudha Thakkar Khandwani

Sudha Thakkar KhandwaniMs. Sudha Thakkar Khandwani is the Founder, Artistic Director and Curator of Kala Nidhi Fine Arts and co-director of Ababeel Arts and the Ababeel Film Society. Her 50-year career in the arts is marked by outstanding contributions to the fields of Indian dance, theatre, acting, choreography, photography and film in Canada and her native India.

Sudha was born in Bombay, where she had a highly acclaimed performance career in dance and theatre before she became a teacher, choreographer and artistic director. In 1953 she founded Kala Nidhi Fine Arts in India – through which she explored new directions that have become characteristic of contemporary Indian dance. When a tragic arm injury brought an early end to her performance career in 1965, Sudha and her husband Abdullah expanded Kala Nidhi to include Ababeel, a new visual arts section. Together, Sudha and Abdullah toured India and captured the artistic and cultural traditions of the country in award-winning photography, film and other audio-visual presentations.

In 1971, the Khandwanis settled in Toronto where they expanded Ababeel’s mandate to explore cultural diversity and art in Canada. They traveled across their new country presenting another series of photographic exhibitions, multi-media presentations and video that featured the rich and varied artistic traditions of Canadians from many ethnic backgrounds. Sudha’s many accomplishments in this field include the multi-media stage production, Indian Woman, the documentary film, A Tale of Two Mosques, and the multi-media audio visual presentation, Three Faces of Indian Art.

After nurturing Kala Nidhi Fine Arts in India for over twenty years, Sudha began transplanting the organization into Canada in the late 1980’s. In 1993, Kala Nidhi Fine Arts of Canada burst onto the Canadian dance scene with NEW DIRECTIONS IN INDIAN DANCE, the first in a series of highly acclaimed international dance festivals. Over the next twelve years, Kala Nidhi enriched Canada’s dance community with bold new choreographic works from Great Britain, India and the United States, including the spellbinding artistry of the legendary traditional artists such as Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and the original creativity of the world-renowned contemporary choreographer Chandralekha. As Kala Nidhi’s Artistic Director, Sudha has nurtured emerging dance artists through her NAVODAYA-NEW DAWN festivals and supported the creative agendas of mid-career and senior dancers. Through all these efforts, Sudha takes her work a step closer to her ultimate vision of balancing the magnificence of Indian classical tradition with the creativity of contemporary works.

Now in her seventieth year, Sudha Khandwani has enriched the lives of countless lovers of dance, visual art and film in both India and Canada.