A story telling session for Semester at Sea students who took an art of living course at Dakshinachitra turned out to be quite enjoyable and judging from the response of the students, by them too. I rushed from Dakshinachittra straight to Mylapore Fine Arts club to compere the music of Brazil programme of Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Such a feeling of joy to be with art all the time. very elevating I would not give this up for anything.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Prema kasturi asked me to give a talk to her friends at Medha Maithri a group of women interested in knowledge quest. I gave my talk on the Nataraja icon and orion constellation with a ppt presentation and story telling. Great response from everyone present. Great feeling!!1
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Mahatma, message, music
T S Atul Swaminathan Wed, 30 Sep, 2009 , 02:56 PM
Mahatma Gandhi comes alive for V R Devika, managing trustee of Chennai-based Aseema Trust, not just on 2 October and 30 January— his birth and death anniversaries, respectively. She constantly works on taking the ideals of the Father of the Nation to school students, teachers and community groups through her project ‘Spin a Yarn’.
Through a focus on the performing arts of South India such as puppetry, dance, theater and music, the Aseema Trust reinforces a respect for differences, dignity in labour, and integrity in cultural preservation. Today, several projects fall under the Aseema umbrella— from teaching Gandhian principles through spinning workshops to leading a group of Indian performing arts children through the Netherlands. And from storytelling at a temporary shelter for Tsunami survivors in Nagapattinam district to conducting a project using traditional performing arts as an empowering tool.‘I have conducted the spin a yarn project in ten different schools in the city. The spinning on the Charkha is taught to the students to bring the lesser known ideals of Gandhi like cleanliness, civic responsibilities, respect for diversity and dignity of labour’, she says.Passionate about working with children, Devika came to Chennai as a young woman from her native city of Mysore to pursue higher education. She was asked to join as a teacher in a kindergarten school teacher. She loved it so much that she forgot about doing her masters degree.She however did her master’s degree in Gandhian Thoughts thirty years later and is now working on a Ph D on Gandhi at the department of Philosophy, University of Madras.‘In 1996, I founded the trust to link arts and education and to make the Mahatma relevant today. I did a series of workshops for students and teachers on ‘Swaraj’ at Dakshinachitra. I am going to organise sessions on reproductive health and AIDS and also dance sessions to create a awareness on Ahimsa,’ she says.Devika has also learnt Bharata Natyam and began to incorporate lessons from the traditional art into her teaching method. Deep interest in the theory of dance and her Gurus Shantha and V P Dhananjayan’s encouragement of compering dance shows and giving lectures on dance lead her to be invited to become a dance critic in some media houses. Acknowledged for her innovations in linking art and education, Devika was invited to become the director of education and culture at INTACH and the Madras Craft Foundation. Drawing on her years of experience in the field of art and education, Devika gained the confidence and support to launch the Aseema Trust. Her extensive international travel has exposed her to various cultures and forms of educations that also continuously enhance Aseema Trust projects.‘Always interested in history, I am also deeply interested in M K Gandhi and his innovative methods of reaching out to people,’ she signs off. Aseema Trust can be contacted over phone at 24464763.