Centre for Social & Political  Art (CSPA)

A lotus flower at CSPA Campus Anti-nuclear protest in Osaka, Japan (2012) Save Water poster for Janhit Foundation by Design & People 'Yes, We Can' - Dr Richard Stallman with Edward Snowden for Julian Assange (2014) 'Conflicts Travelling Exhibition' poster by Design & People (2005)

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'CENTRE for Social & Political Art' (CSPA) Committee is comprised of experts from various disciplines. Art, design, theatre, activism, music, literature, performing arts, technology are some of the areas that constitute the broad spectrum of expertise of the committee. The team of CSPA Advisors in consultation with Mentors guide the CSPA Managing Committee and CSPA Associates from time to time. The Committee consists of four Managing Trustees, four Mentors, a nine-member Advisory Board and CSPA Associates.

THE MENTORS

Prof Samdhong Rinpoche (CSPA Mentor) Venerable Prof Samdhong Rinpoche (CSPA Mentor)

Prof Samdhong Rinpoche is an eminent and distinguished scholar, teacher, philosopher, and a life-long campaigner for Gandhian principles, especially that of non-violence or peaceful resistance.

Born as Samdhong Lobsang Tenzin in 1939 in Tibet, he was recognised and enthroned as the reincarnation of the fourth Samdhong Rinpoche when he was five years old. He began his monastic studies at age twelve and eventually obtained a Doctorate in Buddhist Sciences at Gyutö Monastery, Dalhousie, India.

In 1959, Prof Rinpoche fled to India to escape the repressive Chinese regime in Tibet. He was commissioned by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to serve as a teacher to monks in exile. In 1988 he was appointed Director of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi, a position in which he served till 2001. He simultaneously held several positions as Lecturer, Visiting Faculty and member at many universities in India and abroad. He was former Member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and a visiting Professor with Tasmania University, Australia and Hampshire University USA.

Among his notable positions in Indian Academia are: Member of the Governing Body of The Krishnamurti Foundation of India, Chennai and of the Central Tibetan School Administration (CTSA), New Delhi. He is a Trustee Member of the Norbulingka Institute in Sidhpur, Dharamshala. And he is a Chancellor of the Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies, Govt of Madhya Pradesh. Prof Samdhong Rinpoche is the first elected Kalon Tripa or Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile, a position he held from 2001 to 2011. He is the first Kalon Tripa to be democratically elected by the Tibetan people in exile.

He is regarded as one of the leading Tibetan scholars of Buddhism and is also an authority on the teachings of Gandhiji. His area of specialisation is Abhisamaya and Madhyamika Philosophy. Prof Samdhong Rinpoche is fluent in Sanskrit, Hindi, English and of course Tibetan, his mother tongue. He has published over sixty studies and interviews in different university publications and in the press.

Venerable Prof Samdhong Rinpoche is a Mentor to CSPA.

Dr Richard Stallman (CSPA Mentor) Photo by: Christian Payne Dr Richard Stallman (CSPA Mentor)

Dr Richard Stallman, popularly referred to as RMS, has devoted the bulk of his life to political and software activism. With his skill as a programmer, Stallman could have easily have got a high-paid job in the computer industry, but that would have meant a life spent building walls to imprison people. Instead he devoted his abilities to making software that would allow users to cooperate freely and have control over their computing. He does not seek material wealth; by US standards he lives cheaply, like a student, and prefers this because it means that money does not dictate what he does in life. He counts among his influences and inspirations, leaders such as Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Ralph Nader and Franklin D Roosevelt.

Stallman was born in 1953 in New York City, and graduated from Harvard in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts in physics. From September 1974 to June 1975 he was a graduate student in physics at MIT. Aside from that period, he worked at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab from 1971 to 1984, doing mostly operating system development. He wrote the first extensible Emacs text editor there in 1976, and developed the AI technique of dependency-directed backtracking, also known as truth maintenance.

In 1983, Stallman announced the project to develop the GNU operating system, a Unix-like operating system meant to be entirely free/libre/mukt/swatantra software. This announcement launched the Free Software Movement. Stallman began working on this project on January 5, 1984, resigning from MIT employment in order to do so. In October 1985 he started the Free Software Foundation, of which he is president and a full-time volunteer. Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time in political advocacy for free software, and spreading the ethical ideas of the movement, as well as campaigning against both software patents and dangerous extension of copyright laws. He pioneered the concept of copyleft, and is the main author of the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license, which implements copyleft.

Dr Stallman's most well known speeches about the Free Software Movement are: "The GNU Operating System and the Free Software movement", "The Dangers of Software Patents", "Copyright and Community in the Age of the Computer Networks, "A Free Digital Society".

In 1999, Dr Stallman called for development of a Free On-Line Encyclopedia, inviting the public to contribute articles, which helped inspire the launch of Wikipedia (originally the merger of Nupedia and Gnupedia). His book of essays, entitled Free Software, Free Society, is available from fsf.org. Free as in Freedom, his semiautobiography, also available there, provides further biographical information. He has received several awards, recognitions and doctorates from across the world, and has been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.

Dr Richard Stallman is a Mentor to CSPA.

Prof Kirti Trivedi (CSPA Mentor) Prof Kirti Trivedi (CSPA Mentor)

Kirti Trivedi is an internationally renowned design educator, designer and thinker. As a professor at the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) at IIT Bombay (1975–2014), he initiated and founded India's first Master of Design Programme in Visual Communication. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering, he did postgraduate studies in Industrial Design from IIT Bombay and the Royal College of Art, London. In 1981, he worked as a UNESCO Fellow in Japan, under the guidance of Prof Kohei Sugiura. He also helped set up the Centre for Asian Art & Design at the School of Art, Design and Media at NTU in Singapore, when working as a Visiting Professor there in 2011.

Besides teaching and design research, he is active as a design consultant in the areas of product design, design management and product planning, graphic design, book design, exhibition and museum design, environmental graphics and signage design, with numerous awards and publications both nationally and internationally. He was among the 100 leading typographers from around the world invited to participate and present their work in Typojanchi, first International Biennale of Typography in Seoul, South Korea; and bt'09: the Beijing Typography exhibition in 2009. He is frequently invited to present papers at international design conferences; and was an invited expert at the Asian Round Table Conference on 'Asian Design', organised by the Asia Club, Tokyo. He helped draft the ICOGRADA Design Education Manifesto 2000, as part of the International working group to prepare a manifesto for the future of design education.

His major projects include a permanent exhibition on MahatmaGandhi: 'My Life is My Message' at Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad; 'Vinoba Darshan' at Gopuri, Wardha; and the National Salt Satyagraha Memorial at Dandi, for which he is the Head of the International Design Team. 'K-Yan' — an integrated community computer developed by him is now widely used in classrooms in India.

His current research is in developing appropriate interaction design solutions for Indian needs based on emerging technology possibilities; universal and self-evident design; and in defining rich learning environments to replace institutionalised teaching. He is the founder-director of ADARG (Asian Design and Art Research Group); and is engaged in several book projects related to Indian Letterforms, Iconography and Asian Design Philosophies.

Prof Kirti Trivedi is a Mentor to CSPA.

Rajiv Vora (CSPA Mentor) Rajiv Vora (CSPA Mentor)

Rajiv Vora was born in the Freedom year 1947. He was born in a Gandhian family in Saurashtra. He has been an integral part of the Gandhian movement for well over four decades. In his younger days, as a youth leader, he was a close associate of Jaiprakash Narayan, playing an active role in the Bihar Movement of 1970s. He was the convenor of its Satyagraha Committee. He did not join politics however — as would have been the natural course of his involvement — preferring instead to do an in depth study of Gandhian philosophy and various political movements. In addition to this he was involved in conducting experiment in the field of public education.

In his many avatars as a writer, editor, public speaker, educator, trainer and organiser — Rajiv Vora has strived to combine both theory and praxis through engagement with people at all levels. He is keen on creating a sound edifice of thought and action, to aid in building a cadre of right thinking and acting youth. According to him, when there is a paucity of inspiring leaders or institutions, we need to re look at our own history and rediscover the true meaning of Hind Swaraj, the movement that achieved something that had never before happened in the history of human kind — a Non-violent Freedom struggle that gained India her Independence.

Rajiv Vora is currently the Chairman of Swaraj Peeth Trust. He was the former Editor of 'Gandhi Marg' of Gandhi Peace Foundation. Along with his life partner, Dr Niru Vora, he is engaged in the study and research of Gandhi's vision, field experiments in Swaraj awareness; and in building trained non-violent peace keeping cadres in conflict regions of Bihar, Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir. He has guided international non-violent peace keeping experiments Sri Lanka and in Mindanao, Philippines. He has been felicitated for his writings. An avid student of classical music, he has written and lectured in India and abroad on the subject. He was invited as Consultant to the Rotterdam Music Conservatory.

Rajiv Vora is is a Mentor to CSPA.

MANAGING TRUSTEES

Sethu Das: CSPA Founder & Managing Trustee Sethu Das (CSPA Founder & Managing Trustee) CSPA Twitter
sethu.das@cspa.in

After graduating from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, Sethu Das went to Srinagar for a visit and 'accidentally' reached Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile. And found his calling in life. Moved by the stories of Chinese atrocities in Tibet related to him by Tibetan political prisoners, he founded the 'Friends of Tibet', Indian people’s movement for an Independent Tibet in 1999 with one member, an organisation he never registered. He is also the Executive Director of 'World Tibet Day' and one of the Founding Members of 'Friends of Tibet Foundation for the Wellbeing', a philanthropic initiative by Friends of Tibet that restores, propagates and promotes the endangered traditions and practices of Tibet. Among other things, Sethu has the rare distinction of dropping out from the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, one of the premier institutes in India.

In 2003, Sethu Das co-founded 'Design & People' with the slogan — 'Design For People In Need'. Today Design & People is a global network of graphic and industrial designers and architects working towards social and humanitarian projects.

In 2014, Sethu Das founded 'Centre for Social & Political Art' (CSPA), India's first institution dedicated for Social & Political art in a joint venture between Design & People and Sylviander Museum. He has held workshops on Social and Political Design in India and abroad and has curated shows including — "Re-Designing the East: Political Design in Asia and Europe". Sethu Das has worked with The Economic Times, Netscribes India and IIT Bombay as a Consultant and a Resource Faculty to National Institute of Design (NID) and Industrial Design Centre (IDC), IIT-Bombay. He was also an International Observer to Sri Lanka and to several other conflict regions. From being a designer, to starting a socially-conscious design movement, he is a man of varied tastes and talents. You won't however find him enjoying a bottle of Coca-Cola!

Sethu Das is the Founder & Managing Trustee of CSPA.

Sylvie Bantle (CSPA Managing Trustee) Sylvie Bantle (CSPA Managing Trustee) CSPA Twitter
sylvie.bantle@cspa.in

Sylvie Bantle is a German writer, who came to India in 1977 by land. "We don't know why fate pulls us somewhere," she says. Prophetically she had placed a photo of Gandhi above her bed as a 9-year old and later in 1985 found herself learning Kathakali under Guru Gopinath.

In search for old cultures she travelled around the world, spent years travelling through Africa, SE-Asia, America and Pacific. But she came to India again and again to finally to write her India experiences in 4 books and an anthology. While travelling with a typewriter, she met Alexander Devasia on a sandy beach in Kerala in 1992 and they found a common ground in each other's interest in art and culture. With his assistance she researched on the folklore community of 'Parayas of Pandalam' and brought out a book and a documentary, 'Searching For The Dancing God' (2006) about the dying dance form — Pakkanarthullal. In 1997 she published her first book 'Happiness of the Fools'. Together, they also made a trilogy of documentary films — Mortuary Joseph, Shanti Bhavan and Chakara — the first one winning an award at the Tokyo Film festival (2000). She conducts public readings combined with film screenings.

Since 2012 Sylvie has settled in Kerala after founding Sylviander House Art Museum near Alappuzha. She is currently campaigning towards bringing down noise pollution levels in Kerala. She feels that even though Kerala has a Noise Pollution Regulation & Control body in place, there is no effective mechanism to measure and keep it in check. She hopes to change this, seamlessly playing the role of the 'Artist as a Crusader'. Sylvie and Alexander conduct regular classes to encourage children to connect with their souls by talking about the spirit of nature and by dancing. "To be connected with yourself will protect environment and sharpen the sensitivity for all kind of social and political incidents." she says. Back in Germany she continues her 'Brandloch' project — an artistic performance with readings to overcome the wounds and cultural losses caused by the Third Reich and to develop awareness for the crucial occurrences of present time. In 2014 she published 'Das Brandloch-Projekt'.

Sylvie Bantle is a Managing Trustee for CSPA.

Alexander Devasia (CSPA Managing Trustee) Alexander Devasia (CSPA Managing Trustee)
alexander.devasia@cspa.in

A veteran artist, Alexander Devasia grew up in Punnapra near Alappuzha, and did his early art education, BFA Painting, at College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum. "Drawings are a documentation of history. For me it is a diary of my daily life and therapy," says Alexander who can be found sketching any time. Alexander recently held a show in Gallery OED, Mattancherry, called '3 Decades'. In this he chronicled the daily life of his village in all its rustic charm and with the quirks of the characters that lived there. All the characters belong to a time 30 years ago, when Alexander was suspended for a year from college because of ideological problems he had with authorities, he stayed in his village and drew furiously. "These scenes do not exist anymore. This lifestyle has vanished from Kerala," he says, having returned to live near his village after a gap of 15 years. He painted and held several shows in Mumbai and Europe.

At MS University, Baroda, he had once rebelled against existing art practices and co-founded the group 'Radical Painters and Sculptors Association' (1987-89). But today he is sceptical. He says, "Art is not being reflected in our social context. We are forgetting our roots. We have spoiled our ground water, our environment. This angst is reflected in my works because I draw people." And art, he says, can help people. "It is cathartic. It can heal."

Alexander is married to German writer and filmmaker Sylvie Bantle. Together they made several documetaries and short films. Mortuary Joseph, one of their first documentaries won an award at the Tokyo Film festival (2000). In 2012 they have founded Sylviander House Eco Homestay & Art Museum in Chettikad near Alappuzha, Kerala. It is a contemporary art museum which hosts lectures, workshops and conducts classes on art for village kids.

Alexander Devasia is a Managing Trustee for CSPA.

Suku Dass (CSPA Managing Trustee) Suku Dass (CSPA Managing Trustee)
suku.dass@cspa.in

In 2003, when Suku Dass co-founded Design & People with his brother Sethu Dass, he was already a successful professional, and Chief Architect of Suku DassArchitects, Kochi, Kerala. Today Design & People is a global network of graphic and industrial designers, writers and architectural designers working towards social and humanitarian projects. Suku Dass heads the architectural section of Design & People. In addition to this, he campaigns actively for Friends of Tibet, a support group to propagate the cause of Tibet and create awareness about the issue of Tibet amongst people all over the world. He is one of the founding members of the Friends of Tibet Foundation for the Wellbeing, a philanthropic initiative by Friends of Tibet, to make accessible the ancient tradition of Tibetan medicine by holding Wellbeing camps.

Suku is one among those rare breed of people who manages to strike a balance between being a successful commercial architect and being an activist. As the head of the Architectural section of Design & People, he has led several teams in designing and building of low-cost schools, auditoriums and homes in villages. These projects are definitely a far cry from his regular professional work, which sometimes sees him dabbling in chrome, glass and steel.

Suku Dass is a Managing Trustee for CSPA.

ADVISORS

Janos Sugar (CSPA Advisor) János Sugár (CSPA Advisor)

The oeuvre of János Sugár includes works ranging from complex installations to video, to sculpture, concept art, photo and drawing. He uses abstract spatial and graphic constructions and symbols to express his concepts. His social and political sensitiveness is far from moralising, at the same time, it is one that reveals the true essence of phenomena ironically and analyses it systematically. In 1980s, Sugár was considered of the most influential young artists. He was a member of the Indigó Group, led by Miklós Erdély, and then one of the leaders of the Béla Balázs film studio. After the political transition in Eastern Europe, János along with fellow artists, founded the Intermedia Department of the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts. In 1992, he participated in Documenta IX — till date being the last Hungarian artist at Documenta.

His interests are manifested in a vast field stretching between two poles: One is analysis and intervention reflecting on the current environment and context, such as in his Mute series he cuts up and transforms excerpts from TV programmes, placing the dialogies into a new context. In his public space installation Elnézést (Sorry), he intervenes in the visual world of streets by placing pseudo traffic signs with a fictitious text. He has made serious efforts to get the authorities to approve the casting an old graffiti in bronze. On one occasion, he turned the facade of the M?csarnok (Kunsthalle) upside down on a gigantic banner. He has recently been sued for a graffiti. His installation entitled Kairos vs Expeditus is based on everyday objects, a chair and a ladder, and he makes them symbolic with a simple gesture, covering them with black velvet. Two videos shown on small displays on the chair and the ladder lend another dimension to the work: Kairos, standing for the right moment, is represented on the chair by a camera showing a gate at the Frankfurt airport. Expeditus, signifying activity, shows the artist fighting a coil of cable the size of a man in a hotel room. Like fibre board or empty pralinée moulds in other works, the cable is an element of Sugár's abstract language of forms.

His most widely known video, the Typewriter of the Illiterate, consists of images cut from newspapers and magazines, with a Kalashnikov submachine-gun on each of them. The images are morphed into one another around the submachine-gun. The images add up to media analysis with a direct emotional effect.

János Sugár is an Advisor to CSPA.

Keiko Sei (CSPA Advisor) Keiko Sei (CSPA Advisor)

Keiko Sei has always had a keen interest in society — specifically societies in transition. Her interest is fuelled by her various vocations — she is a writer, curator, and advocate of independent media. After running an organisation for independent video and video art in Japan, she moved to Eastern Europe in 1988 to research the communist bloc media scene. In 2002 she moved to Bangkok to continue her research on independent media in Southeast Asia, especially Burma where she founded the Myanmar Moving Image Center in 2003. She has initiated and worked on various projects, including: the symposium "The Media Are With Us!: The Role of Television in the Romanian Revolution" in Budapest (1990); the exhibition "The Age of Nikola Tesla" in Osnabrück (1991); "EX-ORIENTE-LUX Romanian Video Week" in Bucharest (1993); "Orbis Fictus-New Media in Contemporary Arts" (1995); "POLITIK-UM/New Engagement" (2002), both in Prague; and documenta 12 magazines project (editor, 2006-2007); "Re-Designing the East: Political Design in Asia and Europe" (2010-) in Stuttgart, Gdansk, Budapest and Seoul.

Her video archive, which has been collected in transition across different continents, was exhibited to the public at the Generali Foundation in Vienna in 1999, and the German media described it as "The biggest collection of revolutionary videos of Eastern Europe in private hand." She teaches media art and media activism worldwide and her most recent teaching includes a guest professorship at Karlsruhe University of Art and Design.

Keiko Sei is an Advisor to CSPA.

Dr Niru Vora (CSPA Advisor) Dr Niru Vora (CSPA Advisor)

Dr Niru Vora, who was born in the freedom year of 1947, has lived her life fulfilling the principles of Liberty and Gandhian philosophy. During 1974-77, she headed the Delhi unit of Sangharsha Vahini founded by Jai Prakash Narayan and also co-founded the Mahila Dakshta Samiti, along with Dr Sushila Naiyyar, Mrinal Gore and others. Since 2002 she has been involved in developing Swaraj Awareness and Shanti Sena for non-violent conflict resolution based on the vision of Hind Swaraj of Mahatma Gandhi. She edited Gandhi's Dialogue with Christanity (Swaraj Peeth 2001). She is the Founder Director of Swaraj Peeth Trust and the Co-founder and Convener of Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj.

She currently is engaged in an experiment in nonviolence in J&K and violence affected tribal areas of Bihar and Jharkhand. In J&K, this involves bringing together on a common platform, activist youth from Kashmir Valley and Jammu region to have a dialogue on peace and nonviolence. Similarly, in the violence affected areas of Jharkhand and Bihar they have been able to bring in tribal youth leadership to join in dialogues on nonviolence. At theoretical level Dr Niru Vora is developing a methodology of nonviolent intervention for neutralising mistrust, alienation, social-political disaffection, conflict, fear and violence in the cause of justice and social harmony. Her experiences and learnings are going into a Training Manual for Shanti Sainiks which gets continuously updated.

Dr Niru Vora is an MA in Political Science from Rhode Island University, USA and a PhD from Delhi University. She was formerly with the Department of Chinese Studies of Delhi University.

Dr Niru Vora is an Advisor to CSPA.

Prof Parasuram Narayanan (CSPA Advisor) Prof Parasuram Narayanan (CSPA Advisor) CSPA Twitter

Many Indians — specifically kids and their parents — are familiar with Narayan Parsuram. He is loved as the man who created Karadi Tales — an animated adventure series of an Indian bear-Karadi, whose best friends are Dhondu the Donkey and Meera the Monkey! Some of the best Indian actors, singers and musicians were brought together by Narayan Parsuram to lend their voices for The Karadi Tales. It is listed in the top 100 products in the world for children (Institute of Childhood Resources, USA)

But before getting into the field of Edutainment for children, Narayan Parsuram was involved in some very serious endeavours. He obtained a Bachelors Degree (BTech) in Metallurgical Engineering from IIT-B in 1988. He followed that up with a Diploma in Sound Engineering from the Audio Institute of America, USA, 1991 (with a one year internship at WSBF 88.1 radio station, South Carolina). A Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University, USA in 1991, where he setup the Alloy Design Laboratory (as part of the National Science Foundation, USA.

He then returned to India to teach. He taught at KJ Somaiya College of Engineering, Mumbai and at Xaviers' Institute of Communications (XIC), Mumbai and Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) in the area of music and sound design. Currently he is an Associate Professor at Industrial Design Center (IDC), IIT Bombay, teaching courses in the area of Music, Sound Design, Indian Thought & Tradition. His achievements are too many to list here. They span from awards and accolades for academic excellence — to awards for excellence in music, storytelling, sound design and music compositions.

Prof Narayan Parsuram is an Advisor to CSPA.

Pawan Gupta (CSPA Advisor) Pawan Kumar Gupta (CSPA Advisor)

Pawan Kumar Gupta graduated from IIT Delhi, and spent 11 years setting up and managing a chemical industry. In 1984, he was introduced to Vipassana, a Buddhist meditational practice, in which mindfulness of breathing and of thoughts, feelings and actions are used to gain insight in the true nature of reality. 1987 was a watershed year for him — he quit a successful career to involve himself completely in the research and practice of Vipassana. Since the meditation practice requires silence to achieve inner peace, he moved to live in the mountains in 1987.

In 1989, along with his wife, Pawan Kumar Gupta set up Society for Integrated Development of Himalayas (SIDH) to provide primary education to schools in remote villages. The institute has since grown organically but the main focus has remained education.

Pawan Kumar Gupta has published and edited several books. He edited 'Rediscovering India' — a collection of articles by Dharampal, which gives an account of the education system in India in the 18th and early 19th century. And a book in Hindi called "Mahatma Gandhi: Ek Punarvalokan" which has selected speeches and writings of Mahatma Gandhi.

He regularly writes columns ("Dayron se Pare") for national dailies like "Jansatta", Hindustan and Amar Ujala. A compilation of these published articles was taken out in 2003 called "Dayron se Pare Kuchh Nazariye". He has edited "Himalaya Raibar" a journal on society, science, education and politics for 18 years. He was also a part of several research studies — "A Matter of Quality"; "Child and Family". Pawan Kumar Gupta has conducted an exhibition on facets of Mahatma Gandhi that challenge modernity and are very bold. The exhibition was held at the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, Germany under the title "Quintessential Gandhi".

Pawan Kumar Gupta is an Advisor to CSPA.

R Ramachandran (CSPA Advisor) K Ramachandran (CSPA Advisor)

K Ramachandran has had an active presence in the field of performing arts — visual and aural, particularly in projects for preservation, development and propagation of traditional, classical art forms for over two and half decades. He is the founder member and principal mentor of Keli, a Mumbai based cultural organisation. Under the banner of Keli he has led a relentless pursuit of excellence in the field of arts. He has conceptualised and organised many important cultural festivals in Mumbai for the last twenty years.

Keli is in a successful festival partnership with Prithvi Theatre for almost a decade. His involvement in such endeavours and the encouragement of his peers propelled him to boldly foray into the field of filmmaking. He started with baby steps, producing and directing 'Kaalam' a short film of 25 minutes. It is based on the life of percussion maestro late Sri Pallavoor Appu Marar. This flm won the very first 'Most Outstanding Short film on Performing Arts' award instituted by Kerala Kala Mandalam. His second documentary 'Sikhi' illustrates female power and dynamism in the world's most ancient women's theatre tradition (1200 yrs) 'Nangiar Koothu' and its original form 'Koodiyaattam'. Sikhi was produced by renowned artist and curator Bose Krishnamachari. It has participated in several International Film Festivals.

He has made short flms — 'Saamam' on the musical journey of the great Carnatic vocalist the Late MD Ramanathan and 'Pranathi' on the Melam artist Peruvanam Kuttan Marar. His next film is based on the art and life of Kathakali legend, Nelliyodu Vasudevan Namboodirippad. It portrays Nelliyodu's unique art and his dedication to a life of Kathakali. And last but not the least — a children's film project with CFSI is already in progress. It is based on the role of children in a historic percussion tradition of a village in Kerala called Peruvanam.

K Ramachandran is an Advisor to CSPA.

Ravindra Ranasinha (CSPA Advisor) Ravindra Ranasinha (CSPA Advisor)

Ravindra Ranasinha is a dramatist, journalist, sociologist, educationist and a social worker from Sri Lanka. He writes profusely on the Fascist developments in his country. He focuses on the devastating Fascist attacks against the multi-religious and multi-ethnic social structure in Sri Lanka. His several essays clearly indicate how the media is responsible for shaping the mindset of the people in the current Sri Lankan political scenario.

Ravindra's thinking is highly influenced by the Frankfurt School, and especially by the writings of Walter Benjamin. His special interest on Neo-Marxism is reflected through his Sinhala translations of Walter Benjamin's lectures 'Author as Producer' and 'Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction'.

Ravindra Ranasinha, as a veteran in the field of drama has done in-depth research towards drama's therapeutic strength to heal the psychologically and emotionally wounded people. His research study enabled him to introduce dramatherapy to Sri Lanka as a viable creative healing process. His book 'Dramatherapy in Sri Lanka' elaborates this amazing strength of drama to promote psychological, emotional and social well-being.

Ravindra has recently published a book on the lacunas in the Sri Lankan educational system — which he marks with a Grade F. In this new book, 'How Schools Abuse and Fail Children: Dramatherapy to Heal Emotionally Traumatized School Children in Sri Lanka', every aspect from physical to sexual and emotional abuse, to romantic adolescent crushes and suicides, mental health, home violence and broken families is dealt with comprehensively. This book is well compiled with arduous research and fortified with several case studies that clearly sound out the dangerous psychological perspectives of such enforced trauma. Ravindra lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka and works as a social activist for 'Friends of Tibet' and Design & People.

Ravindra Ranasinha is an Advisor to CSPA.

Prof GV Sreekumar (CSPA Advisor) Prof GV Sreekumar (CSPA Advisor) CSPA Twitter

An Associate Professor at the Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-B), Powai, Mumbai, GV Sreekumar also finds the time to contribute as an illustrator and cartoonist for several magazines in Kerala. His area of specialisation is Typography, Magazine Design, Information Graphics and Design Pedagogy.

Before getting on the faculty at IDC, GV Sreekumar gathered a long list of experiences and accomplishments by working for several renowned newspapers, magazines and the television media. These include: The Times of India, Indian Express, Illustrated Weekly, Femina, Gentleman, CHIP digital and Doordarshan. Apart from being a full time professor at IDC-IIT, he is a Jury Member and Visiting Faculty at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University, Vadodara, NIFT Mumbai, Symbiosis Institute of Design, MIT Pune, IIIT Jabalpur, IIT Guwahati and Wellinkar Institute of Management. He is also a Member of Text book Committee, NCERT, Govt of India.

Prof GV Sreekumar is an Advisor to CSPA.

Yesudasan CJ (CSPA Advisor) Yesudasan CJ (CSPA Advisor) CSPA Twitter

Kerala has made significant contributions to the field of political cartooning in India. And one of its well known cartoonists is Yesudasan. Born June 12, 1938 in Mavelikkara, Kerala, his first cartoon was published in 1955. In 1960, he joined the Communist Party mouth-piece 'Janayugam' making his debut as a political Cartoonist. Three years later he joined Shankar's Weekly, the nursery of political cartooning in India and became a disciple of Cartoonist Shankar.

In 1973, Shankar's Weekly folded up and many of the cartoonists, now stalwarts themselves went on to replicate the same concept. Yesudasan started many magazines modeled on Shankar's Weekly. In 1985 he joined the Malayala Manorama as staff Cartoonist. Yesudasan has many firsts to his credit — he started the first pocket cartoon in Malayalam while he was at Janayugam. He is Founder-Chairman of the Kerala Cartoon Academy and was twice the Chairman of Kerala Lalithakala Academy. He has written several books, his last book 'Varayile Nayanar' a collection of cartoons EK Nayanar, the late Chief Minister of Kerala was released by Dr Manmohan Singh, then Prime Minister of India.

Yesudasan is also a reputed script writer for Malayalam films, having won several International and National awards. Probably he is the only cartoonist in the country who handles a maximum number of columns daily — in English and Malayalam.

Yesudasan is an Advisor to CPSA.

Centre for Social & Political  Art - CSPA Centre for Social & Political Art (CSPA), Chettikad Beach Road, Pathirappally PO, Alappuzha 688 521, Kerala, India.
Tel: +91.9995181777, +91.9645817014 Fax: +91.11.47615142 Email: life@cspa.in
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Centre for Social & Political Art (CSPA) is a platform to promote collective involvement of every citizen to appreciate rights of all living beings. It enables the marginalised and victimised people to voice their grievances, build awareness and receive empowerment. The Centre rallies creative artists, thinkers and activists under its banner to work against all power structures. It upholds freedom of all arts and creativity. The Centre is a catalyst, inspiring all vulnerable communities to strive against the existing repressive social and political order.