"Art is a tool for social change and awareness because it is the most beautiful medium to convey a message", says Saumya Pandey, founder of a theatre group Abhivyakti (expression). Her theatre group, based in her Vijay Apartments, Indirapuram home, was founded by her in 2011. It specialises in working with and training children in the skill of theatre.
Through the years, Saumya has donned multiple hats of a social activist, feminist, survivor, a black belt in taekwondo and an artist. She is a woman full of life, art, positive spirit and social awareness making her an inspiration for many people in society. The plays written and directed by her are aimed at spreading social awareness on contemporary issues among elders and children as well. She once did a play with children highlighting "Good Touch and Bad Touch". She does children's plays based on events and festivals such as Republic Day, Lohri and Children's Day.
"From my childhood, I had a good sense of culture, art and social awareness," says Saumya. She grew up in a family with a very refined sense of art and aesthetics. Both her parents were into teaching. Her father was an artist, and her mother was a professor of history at Delhi University.
Young Soumya though found theatre as her preferred medium of expression. It was in the school itself that she had her first taste of theatre. She has been actively involved in theatre since the eighth standard and carried this love through her college.
People usually consider theatre as something only the grown-ups would be interested in. But Saumya feels it is equally relevant for children. She says that if we teach the right things to children at an early age, they will grasp it well as their mind is bereft of preconceived ideologies and social norms. Says she, "I feel very energetic and positive around children because their hearts are pure."
She also teaches her students personality development through different ways, be it yoga or taekwondo which she believes is important for theatre.
After the pandemic, when teaching came on the internet, Saumya adapted to the need of the hour. She has since been teaching and directing plays with children online. She shares these through her social media.
Saumya's father, who was an artist, had a strong impact on her life. She thus believes that she learnt painting ever since she learned to walk. Her style of painting is "Impressionist". She majorly works in oil medium as she loves to use rich colours in her paintings. She has showcased her work at various exhibitions in Delhi.
Saumya strongly believes that education and economic independence are important elements of women empowerment. Being a black belt in Taekwondo, Saumya teaches self-defence to children. She teaches
Madhubani painting, stitching and painting to underprivileged women and older children to help them earn a livelihood. She also organises special training programmes in music, dance, art for underprivileged women and children in Hathi park, Ghaziabad. Apart from this, she is an active volunteer at Jaya Prayas help Foundation.
In 2019, Saumya was selected as one of the 51 most influential women by the Brijbhumi Foundation.