Published: 21st December 2018
With Kalaanoobhuti, IIIT-H students are doing workshops that cover the whole artistic spectrum
"Art adds value to life in so many different ways. One can express themselves in so many ways through it," says Sarigama Yerra
What do two girls talk about when they get together? Social conditioning prompts us to believe that they would be gossiping, but whenever 22-year-olds Sarigama Yerra, who was born in Vijayawada, and Vanalata Bulusu, who is from Hyderabad, would get together, they would talk about doing something beyond what they were already doing, which was pursuing a five-year dual degree programme at International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad which included a BTech in Computer Science and a Master's in Humanities with research. They are research students at the Cognitive Science Lab in IIT-H working on creativity under the guidance of Prof Priyanka Srivastava who is their biggest supporter. Ex-HoD of Exact Humanities department, Prof Navjyoti Singh, who passed away recently, was one of their supporters too who advised them to create their own jobs.
All smiles: Sarigama Yerra and Vanalata Bulusu are the best of friends | (Pic: Sarigama Yerra)
This quest to do more took them to Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan, West Bengal in 2016, where they worked at Kala Bhavana (Institute of Fine Arts) as interns. For their last semester, the travelled to the Northeast and worked with the Action Northeast Trust in Assam, which works for village development. But when the itch to do more kept growing, they decided to launch Kalaanubhoothi, under which they intend to conduct arts and crafts workshops in the city of Hyderabad. "Kalaanubhoothi simply means experiencing art," says Sarigama. And just like that, one overnight conversation turned into an idea which became Kalaanubhoothi.
Though they are charging for workshops now, they want to eventually bring down the registration fee. For their first workshop, the charged Rs 1,000
The duo, while rationalising the idea, thought to themselves how the art forms they were getting naturally exposed to, thanks to their interest and the field they decided to pursue, others were devoid of. "Extracurriculars is very important and not just in school," says Sarigama matter-of-factly. So with this conviction, they held their first workshop at Phoenix Arena in HITEC City on December 9. This was around Pop Up Art, which they extensively promoted on social media. Despite their enthusiasm and efforts, only one child turned up and they conducted the workshop for her. Turns out this one child, and the mother, helped them bag their second gig. "Yes! They were so happy with our workshop that they requested us to conduct one in their apartment for the residents," says Sarigama. Looking back, she feels that it was probably the election time and the multitudes of other events which were scheduled for the day, that lead to the "tragedy" that was their first workshop. But the two girls refuse to be back out.
Piece of art: The pop-up art that they taught at the workshop | (Pic: Sarigama Yerra)
"We see a lot of potential in this idea because it is a short format that doesn't require huge investments in terms of time," reasons Sarigama. And indeed, their format is not intensive, where people need to dedicate a lot of time. At every workshop, they want to teach something different. So, next up, the workshop can be about clay modelling or painting, who knows? And why just this? They plan to make it bigger. Teach in slum areas and government schools too. "Art is not just for the rich," she quips. When we ask her what her future holds, she just giggles and says, "I don't know, I am someone who just plans overnight." Oh, that we know all too well and trust that all their conversations will lead them towards success.