Photographer:Gino | Paintings by young students of Yatra Photographer:Gino | Priya playing on Veena Photographer:Gino | Priya, Srinivasan, and a student perfoming a traditional dance which includes drumming Photographer:Gino | Three older students performing a traditional drumming-dance Photographer:Gino | Young students watching the performances Photographer:Gino | Priya dancing Bharat Natian Photographer:Gino | Students dancing
22 Oct / 2018Program by:
Featured: YatraLanguage: English

Yatra Art and Culture Foundation is 13 this year.

Yatra Art and Culture Foundation celebrated Saraswati Puja and also its 13th birthday .

As I entered the building I noticed, displaced at the entrance, a variety of colourful paintings made by the children attending classes at Yatra. Soon the warm and cordial voice of Srinivasan (also known as Yatra Shrinivasan) welcomed me and gave me a brief introduction to their 13th birthday celebration and their Sarasvathi Puja program.
As Srinivasan was talking, some memories came up to my mind of Yatra’s early stage. I remembered a small room thronged with children playing on drums and singing mantras. Now this little oasis of education and arts has expanded and it has reached the attention and respect of the local villages.
The centre offers classes in various forms of art (including painting, Carnatic singing, Veena, theatre, different forms of traditional Indian and Tamil dance, and even Yoga). In addition, Yatra Art and Culture Foundation’s aim is to educate and build community awareness on health and social issues through media and performing arts.
Srinivasan’s movies have always been short and simple, concise and educationally very effective. Each movie touches a specific issue with a definite quality and light humour able to reach various ages, social and cultural backgrounds.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=yatra+arts+media
His latest movie, Kattralil Yogam, is about how the discipline of Yoga can be a good tool towards education.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg9UiZeqEEM&t=25s

The evening started with a puja. Incenses were lit, the students sang mantras, and the burning flame passed around to bless everybody and the house.
Later, after a short presentation, Priya, a young adult, came on stage and played the Veena. After that there were different styles of dance (by children, and also by young adults) and a Bharat Natian dance by Priya.
Srinivasan also came on stage in a couple of occasions. In one he was part of a traditional Tamil dance (where the dancers also play on a drum); and in the other occasion he was one of the main character of a comedy theatre show.
Street theatre performance in Tamil Nadu is not merely entertainment, but most importantly it is and has always been a powerful mean to bring social and environmental awareness to the villages.

After the show, there was an award ceremony where all students received a small price. Srinivasan also invited on stage various members of the community (also including some Aurovillians) each to receive a symbolic gesture of Thank You. It was a special moment because we all felt that Srinivasan deserved the biggest Thank You for creating and running this simple and yet outstanding educational project.
The event ended with a delicious dinner of traditional food, and we were all gifted with a small bag of goodies.

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