Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Three Major Trends in Contemporary Art

A respected Bellevue, Washington, entrepreneur, Afshan Lakha shares ownership of Lakha Investments LLC. With a passion for painting and taking in art museums around the globe, Afshan Lakha has a particular interest in contemporary art. 

One trend among today’s art collectors is on meaningful consumption, which involves seeking out treasured objects with specific personal meaning rather than those that are in vogue. Instead of simply responding to brand messaging, aficionados seek out those pieces that offer a combination of integrity and clear vision. 

This endeavor involves an embracing of “messthetics,” which places value on imperfections and realistic representations of bodies, cityscapes, and other areas of representation. In some cases, the brutal honesty of such works makes the viewer feel uncomfortable and opens new areas of experience and discussion.

Another trend is a “silence-vs.-noise” aesthetic that seeks to take the clutter out of a crowded and overstimulated social landscape. Taking pointers from minimalist art movements of the 1950s and 1960s, it embraces a sense of calm in presenting “visual haiku” that encourage contemplative reflection.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Gates Foundation - Saving Lives through Global Immunizations

Based in Washington, Afshan Lakha guides Lakha Investments LLC with her husband and company cofounder. Maintaining a strong community presence, Afshan Lakha supports nonprofit organizations such as the Seattle Symphony and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Known for its transparency and effective use of funds, the latter supports diverse educational, population, and health-focused efforts. 

One of the Gates Foundation’s core programs strives to ensure that global immunization coverage is achieved through the distribution of vaccines for conditions such as tuberculosis, hepatitis B, yellow fever, and measles. With vaccines that can be difficult to obtain and cost prohibitive in some of the least developed countries, the Gates Foundation is spearheading the Global Vaccine Action Plan, which aims to save in excess of 20 million lives by 2020. 

Areas of focus include the training of on-the-ground health workers, as well as the creation of reliable transportation and distribution networks needed to ensure drugs reach individuals in need. The Gates Foundation also strives to establish local refrigeration capacities for vaccines that require a climate-controlled environment.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Health Benefits of Gardening

An experienced financial professional and business leader, Afshan Lakha serves as a principle with Lakha Investments Company. Recreationally, Afshan Lakha enjoys spending time in her garden

Research has shown that gardening has a number of health benefits. Beyond getting people outside of their homes and in nature, gardening has been shown to help regulate blood pressure. Contact with healthy soil also plays an important role in building a strong immune system, and vegetables harvested from a home garden have more nutrients than those purchased from a store.

The other major benefit of gardening is stress relief. According to Clare Cooper Marcus, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied the psychological effects of landscape architecture, looking intensely at a plant or even taking a few seconds to smell a flower allows people to bypass the mind’s analytical function. The professor continues that gardening helps people to stop thinking, worrying, and obsessing by bringing them into the present moment, thus reducing their levels of stress.

Taking a few minutes, then, to work in the garden after getting home from work and before starting evening chores can help individuals feel more relaxed while giving them significant health benefits.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Honeymoon in Vegas - New Theatrical Production in London’s West End

Lakha Investments LLC cofounder Afshan Lakha guides a commercial real estate enterprise with business interests throughout Washington. A theater enthusiast, Afshan Lakha enjoys productions in London such as Les Miserables. A production currently playing in London’s West End is Honeymoon in Vegas, a musical adapted from the 1992 film of the same name starring Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The plot follows the mishap-filled life of Jack, a Brooklyn native who promised his mother on her deathbed that he would never get married. When he finally gets up the nerve to propose to his long-suffering girlfriend Betsy in Las Vegas, he finds that her attentions have been taken by a smooth-talking gambler. 

The show had its Broadway debut in 2015 and picked up critical plaudits for its throwback energy, which hearkened to the golden era of song and dance productions. The New York Times commended its “sly genius” in subverting the formulaic romantic comedy in ways that offer surprising detours and extravagant gestures. The West End version features backing by a full 30-piece ensemble provided by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Seattle Symphony - Improving Accessibility for Local Families

A co-founder and principal of Lakha Investments Company, Afshan Lakha maintains active involvement with the arts in Seattle. Toward that end, Afshan Lakha supports the Seattle Symphony, which has undertaken a number of programs in recent years to encourage parents to introduce their children to the symphony.

The Tiny Tots Series, for example, connects children up to age 5 to an interactive program featuring songs, games, and stories. Families can bring their children early for fun activities in the lobby that start 30 minutes prior to each performance. 

Designed for children 12 and under, the Classical King FM 98.1 Family Concert Series introduces young minds to some of the most popular classical pieces. Programming starts an hour before each performance with instrument exploration and crafts in the main lobby. 

The organization also offers Sensory Friendly Concerts for children with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities. The concerts feature chamber pieces and participatory songs. Children are encouraged to meet and greet the performers before or after each performance, which is hosted by a music therapist.

Participation in these family events comes with free admission to the Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Two-Hour Cooking Classes for Everyone - Alain Ducasse

Afshan Lakha is a co-founder of Lakha Investments Company in Bellevue, Washington. An accomplished amateur chef and hostess, Afshan Lakha has taken several cooking classes at Alain Ducasse’s world-class school in Paris. 

World-renowned chef Alain Ducasse owns dozens of fine restaurants around the world, totaling 21 Michelin stars. He is also the head of two cooking schools, one of which is open to the general public. Located in Paris, the Alain Ducasse Cooking School is open to anyone who loves food and desires to learn. A select few classes are given in English, though most are only in French.

Alongside introductory, technique, kid-friendly, and traditional cooking classes, the cooking school operates a series of “Spotlight” classes, which offer an in-depth look at one aspect of Alain Ducasse’s cooking at a time. Amateur chefs can learn all about asparagus in one class, souffles in another, and other dishes like lobster, macaroons, and much more in these two-hour courses.