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Unity Arts Presents

Unity Arts Presents

Gurkha Connection

Unity Arts launched today 7th January 2018 a exhibition commemorates over 200 years of shared history between the Gurkha and the British army

An exhibition celebrating over 200 years of shared history between the Gurkhas and the British Army at Unity Arts, based at Unity 101 Community Radio in Southampton.

The Gurkha Connection was a community-based project in which three groups of young people from Hart and Rushmoor took a central leading role, culminating in an exhibition and commemorative book. Through their hard work and commitment, they shaped and owned the project, which showcased, celebrated and commemorated the important and historic relationship between the Gurkhas and the British Army, representing over 200 years of shared history.

‘I think it is important to celebrate and commemorate the relationship between the Gurkhas and the British Army because it shows the coming together of cultures’
Project participant

The relationship was celebrated through a visually impactful display of photography taken by the young people of serving Gurkhas from 10 The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (10 QOGLR), veterans and members of the local Nepalese community from Maddhat Shamuha – Nepalese Help. Through the work of the young people, the project also came to recognise and celebrate the Gurkha and local Nepalese community.

The project is part of Hampshire Cultural Trust’s Better Life Chances programme which aims to use arts and culture to inspire positive change. On the project the young people – from the West End Centre, The Wavell School and The Sixth Form College Farnborough – undertook community interviews, heritage workshops, cultural and research trips, as well as photography and exhibition workshops. They worked with professionals including photographers and heritage and museum experts from The British Museum and Hampshire Cultural Trust to learn the skills required to develop the meaningful exhibition and commemorative book. They visited Aldershot Military Museum and The Gurkha Museum in Winchester, as well as meeting and working with members of Maddhat Shamuha – Nepalese Help and 10 QOGLR. Through these meetings, the young people collected oral testimonies which helped to shape the exhibition and book. The young people’s knowledge and cultural understanding of the Gurkhas was enhanced by cultural briefings by Officers of 10 QOGLR.

Throughout the project, the young people developed confidence, research and teamwork skills and through their hard work developed a creative and rewarding experience.

‘I was very proud of myself & my friends because we worked hard’
Project participant ‘I am most proud of the exhibition and how much my confidence has grown’ Project participant

The exhibition provides visitors with an opportunity to share in the celebration not only of the historic relationship between the Gurkhas and the British Army, but also its continued significance today.

‘I want visitors to gain a stronger understanding of the role that the Gurkhas have played in the history of Britain and the role they and the whole Nepali community still play in society today’ Project participant

The exhibition runs until Wednesday 31 January.

The project was delivered by Hampshire Cultural Trust and funded by a grant from the Armed Forces Community Covenant. It ran with support from Rushmoor Borough Council.