By C.P. Belliappa
Dr Nima Poovaya-Smith (in picture) was conferred the prestigious Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2016 for her contribution in the field of Arts and Museums.
Recently, Nima was bestowed with another unique honour. She has been appointed as one of the Deputy Lieutenants (DL) of West Yorkshire County. Deputy Lieutenants assist the Lord-Lieutenant in carrying out his role as the Queen’s representative. Historically, the duty of the Lord-Lieutenant used to be in organising the county’s militia! In 1871, the lieutenant’s responsibility over the local militia was removed.
The current Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire is Sir Ed Anderson. The responsibilities of the Lieutenancy includes making arrangements for Royal visits to the county and for hosting those visits; representing the Monarch at a wide range of events across West Yorkshire; presenting British Empire Medals and other awards; advising on submissions for honours nominations; submitting nominations for Royal Garden Parties; and maintaining close links with regional armed forces. He is assisted by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, the Clerk to the Lieutenancy and a team of Deputy Lieutenants. The photograph shows Dr Nima Poovaya-Smith with the insignia of office of Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire. See website: http://www.westyorkshirelieutenancy.org.uk/
Nima’s father Ammanichanda Poovaya worked in Belgaum for many years and that’s where she and her siblings had their early education. Her mother, Biddanda Muthie Poovaya and my mother were sisters. Nima earned her PhD in English literature from the University of Mysore under the mentorship of well-known academician Prof C.D. Narashimaiah. She was also a student of Prof U.R. Ananthamurthy. In 1981 Nima went to the University of Leeds, UK, on a scholarship for post-doctoral studies. Nima is married to Paul Smith, who besides being a sociologist specialising in the sociology of knowledge, is an authority on the Theosophical Society founded by Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky.
Nima has been actively involved in collecting art and in curating museums. One of her assignments was collecting rare textiles for Cartwright Hall Museum, Bradford. Various noteworthy collections are currently being celebrated at the ‘Two Temple Place’ gallery in London (till 19 April 2020). Seven top women collectors of textiles for public collections are being showcased, and Nima’s contemporary South Asian collection is one of them (see photograph). For more details visit website: https://twotempleplace.org/exhibitions/unbound/
Nima is the founder director of Alchemy Anew, an organization involved in confluence of cultures. Currently she is the Senior Visiting Research Fellow, School of Fine Arts, History of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds.
Nima Poovaya-Smith with her nephew Dr Kodimanianda Ajit Belliappa in front of Yinka Shonibare’s acclaimed piece The Wanderer that she was instrumental in purchasing for Bradford Museums and Galleries in 2007. It is part of the exhibition Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles currently being shown in the iconic and beautiful spaces of the historic building 2 Temple Place, London. Nima is one of the seven women whose work as a curator is being celebrated in this exhibition which runs until 19 April 2020.