What is East South-East Asian heritage month? What’s the ESEA theme this year? And how it will be celebrated in Yorkshire

September is dedicated to East and South East Asian heritage, culture, history and everything in between. It’s a chance to celebrate, acknowledge and learn about the incredible ways in which our communities have helped shape the UK, organised by besea.n.

This year’s theme: Roots/Routes

This year’s theme is “Roots/Routes,” an exploration of cultural identity and belonging. besea.n invite you to delve into the narratives of family journeys and stories, celebrating the rich tapestry of experiences that contribute to our diverse and vibrant heritages.

East and South East Asian Heritage Month is a time to honour and celebrate the deep-rooted connections that shape our identities, while also acknowledging the diverse paths that have brought us to where we are today.

besea.n encourage you to be as free as you like in interpreting the theme; whether you choose to explore the historical roots of your ancestry or trace the routes that have taken you – or will take you – to new lands, the possibilities are boundless.

Journeys from the East to Sheffield 

September is East, South-East Asian heritage month set up by the British East, South-East Asian Network in 2020. The first time it will be celebrated in Sheffield is through an exhibition Journeys from the East to Sheffield curated by Nether Edge artist Dr. Panni Loh. The exhibition is kindly hosted by the Arthouse, Sheffield to be opened on August 31st by Kim Streets, Deputy Lieutenant for South Yorkshire and CEO Sheffield Museums.


Panni is a writer and artist and so sought out others from those disciplines, with heritage from East and South-East Asia to create an exhibition that shows some of the art stories through acrylic paintings, oil paintings, sound tracks, videos, short stories and poems by Dr. Panni Loh, Clara Cheung, John Lau, Mai Mustaphanin, Sophie Mei Lan Malin, Winko, Annie Anthony-Mays, Gum Cheng, Chu Yiu Wai. Their journeys often span generations and countries through sea crossings, flights and many miles on foot from China, Malaysia, Hong, Kong, Myanmar and Singapore. There were enthusiastic others whose spirit imbues the exhibition, but summer holidays took them home to the East to visit family.


Journeys from the East to Sheffield is on during the Mid-Autumn Mooncake festival celebrated in the East when the streets are adorned with lanterns including giant lantern temples where people go for blessings. With this in mind Panni is showing her painting Into the Light showing us all as lanterns of light seeking more light.


The exhibition is open from September 1st-30th 2023: Mondays -Fridays 10-5pm and Saturday 10-4. The Arthouse Sheffield S1 4HU

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