2017 Spirit Award Recipients, Arts and Culture

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Recipient Arts and Culture: Nikita Kamblé-Bagal, Lycée Claudel

Nikita performs Kathak, an Indian classical dance, in which she tells a story through rhythmic feet, graceful hands and expressive eyes. She has maintained excellent academic results while training under the direction of Saveeta Sharma, at Upasana. She spends countless hours training and working on her dance graduation, where she will perform at least eight choreographed solo pieces into a two-hour story line. She is an assistant Kathak teacher who displays patience, kindness and a genuine desire to help younger students. As a result, she has become a role model for her students. She is a seasoned dancer who has performed with adults, choreographed dances, demonstrated innovative abilities; a developing talent, which is a display of her exceptional creativity and inspiration through dance. Nikita regularly performs for Republic Day, Independence Day, Diwali and other events throughout Ottawa and Toronto. She has danced at fundraisers and festivals, for cultural and linguistic associations, the High Commission of India, her Upasana and the Lycée community. Nikita’s participation has provided her with the opportunity to share her passion with others. Nikita, through Kathak, has directly impacted the cultural imprint of our society.

Quote: “It is only when I am dancing that I enter a world where I feel completely alive.  I feel safe.”


Recipient Arts and Culture: Maya Basudde, University of Ottawa

Maya experiences post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety which began following a personal event. Despite experiencing an immobilizing panic attack after presenting at an event for survivors of sexual abuse and human trafficking she continues to engage in public speaking. Maya’s words on the negative effects of today’s hip-hop music on young women and the effects of racism on self-esteem earned her second place in the Kushite Kitoke talent show. Maya’s proven spoken abilities have garnered invitations to present before the University of Ottawa’s 2015 International Arts and Human Rights Symposium, the Senate Administration Advisory Committee on Diversity and Accessibility’s 2016 Black History Month event, the 7th and 8th Annual Global Community Alliance Gala and Award Ceremony, Black History Month Ottawa 2017, and the 2010, 2016 and 2017 Ottawa Kwanzaa. After hearing her perform, Councilor Diane Deans invited her to open the City of Ottawa’s council meeting with the National Anthem. She has shared her poetry since winning first prize in the 2015, City of Ottawa Spoken Word Student Showcase. Maya continues to inspire through her writing a powerful truth that is awe-inspiring and life giving.

Quote: “Spoken word poetry was a way to give myself a voice in a world where I felt I didn’t have one.”