Anita Choudhrie is a tireless campaigner for underprivileged and overlooked sectors of society.
Her driving motivation is to celebrate women, empower younger generations and to break the gender gap outside the workplace.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role
As founder of The Stellar International Art Foundation and Path to Success, I would class myself as a philanthropist and a tireless campaigner for underprivileged and overlooked sectors of society. Given my Asian background, I was exposed to a spectrum of different cultures from childhood and have always had a passion for provoking questions and conversations, and exposing cultural, political and social issues. Twelve years ago, I founded my own charity, Path to Success, and I have continued to support causes across the globe ever since.
What kindled your passion for philanthropy?
The Stellar collection began in the 1970s when my Husband and I began to purchase works of art, purely due to personal interest and passion. Friendships then blossomed with international contemporary artists and the collection grew and grew. My philanthropic tendency, which was originally inspired by my grandfather, then saw me start a foundation from this hobby. I have strived to dedicate much of my life to charitable work, ever since my first local campaigns in my student days at Delhi University.
What kind of philanthropic projects are you involved in?
My charity Path to Success has just launched an exciting new campaign, Path to Tokyo 2020, which provides financial support for female athletes who are training to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020. These women are inspirational, having achieved incredible achievements through their resolute hard work and determination. In sport, or any walk of life, it gives me real satisfaction to help people to reach their full potential and as a result I continue to work with charitable causes to do just that.
In the art world, Stellar champions minority artists by distinguishing on individual artistic talent rather than region. The foundation is unique as it endeavours to secure complete bodies of work by artists. By commissioning complete series from within an artist’s oeuvres, the Foundation ensures the preservation of artistic legacies within the collection.
Is your collection purely for pleasure, or do you view art as a financial investment?
Art has been very important to me for as long as I can remember, and throughout the course of my life I have taken every opportunity I can to support artists and collect exceptional pieces.
Art is certainly increasingly viewed across the globe as a valuable investment but I tend to take a holistic view. For me, the true value and power of art lies in its ability to champion and inspire multiculturalism and diversity. Art runs through the veins of every culture and acts as a bridge between cultures across the world.
Why are you supporting women in the art world?
According to statistics released by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 78 per cent of galleries represent more men than women, despite 51 per cent of visual artists being female. Statistics like these emphasise the need to advance feminism within the art world and widen the ‘cultural gaze’. Championing female empowerment within the arts will help bring us closer to embracing gender equality in all areas of society.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
My focus at the moment is on Path to Success’s major fundraiser, the Wheelchair Basketball Challenge 2018. We invite companies to enter teams of able-bodied contestants into the tournament who are then coached by GB Paralympians before playing each other to become corporate Wheelchair Basketball champion. It’s a really wonderful event with a collaborative and competitive atmosphere. What’s more, it is an incredibly unique opportunity for people to learn skills from international sports stars. Everybody is welcome so get in touch and enter!
Other than this, I plan to continue my philanthropy and attempt to influence the world in any way I can to encourage more diversity and equality.