Friday, April 30, 2010

Winners of crowd-sourcing of sketches

Nila foundation announced the winners from crowd-sourcing of sketches of which 14 sketches will be used for designing ‘Puzha Malayalam’ a book on status of rivers in Kerala. The crowd-sourcing of sketches on the theme of ‘my river’ saw enthusiastic response from 620 global citizens from Austria, Bahrain, Germany, India, Kuwait, Mexico, Oman, Slovania, Srilanka and UAE.

14 best entries were selected by an expert panel of artists and environmentalists consisting of chairman of Kerala Lalita Kala Academy, CN Karunakaran, Mathrubhumi chief artist Madanan, cartoonist Venu, Dr. Latha Unnikrishnan of River research centre, CK Sujith Kumar of Nila foundation and Jayakumar C of Thanal on the 28th April 2010 at Riverside Retreat, Cheruthuruthy, Kerala.

The selected entries came from Abhay PP (7, Balussery, India), Divij T (9, Bangalore, India), Eva Koegl (9, Vienna, Austria), Gayathri PS (10, Thrissur, India), Harikrishnan MV ( 16, Kottakkal, India), Harshitha VV (16, Kannur, India), Priyamvadha – (11, Pondicherry, India), Rajendran PP (32, Perumbavoor, India), Rajesh Babu ( 36, Dubai, UAE (2 entries)), Salsabeel(14, Mangalam, India), Sarath P (19, Kannur, India), Surya Mohan(8 , Thrikanappuram, India), Vijil(17, Kannur, India)

Three entries from Atheena S Sharma (10, Codacal, India), Manav D (7, Kozhikode, India) and Priya Sundaravalli (41, Pondicherry, India) received special mention from the judges.

Irrespective of the high number of participation, the judges commented that the standards of the entry were quite average. “There were hardly any sketches were ‘river’ came across as a life experience irrespective of the age group. Most people attempted to share the knowledge of rivers from multi-media including TV, rather than from any personal experience. This seems to have limited the creativity of the person". Judges commented that the "sketches weren’t successful to influence a new or unique visual language. Imagery used was from old-school and there were tendency amongst some of them to imitate mainstream artists. Most of the sketches expressed the visible environmental damages of rivers; however, we hardly noticed any expressions of a rich and wild river. “

Since most of the people in urban areas don’t get much time to observe a river, the judging committee unanimously suggested that they be given opportunities to know a river better. Based on this, Nila Foundation will be offering a river journey in partnership with River Research Centre in Chalakudy and The Blue Yonder, details of which will be shared shortly.

Prakash M, co-ordinator of Puzha Malayalam commented, “We were impressed by seeing the over-whelming response from public. Who would have thought that we would get entries from as far as Mexico? This once again gives us the confidence to build up a global movement for rivers. Nila is probably only a trigger. We congratulate all the winners whose sketches will be released in public on 5 June 2010. Some of the sketches that came in the shortlist might also find place in the book, websites, and other retail products that we are designing for raising funds for the foundation.”

CN Karunakaran, Madanan and Venu contributed impromptu sketches of Nila that they saw in front of their eyes from the river-facing restaurant at Riverside Retreat. The book containing the sketches and 14 chapters on status of rivers in Kerala will be published on the 5 June 2010.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

'Nalla kaaryam' - Sugatha Kumari

When we went to see Sugata Kumari, one of the most revered women activist and writers to let her know about 'Puzha Malayalam' and the small initiative we have kick-started to bring attention on the status of rivers in Kerala, she said, "Nalla Kaaryam".

She added that the general tendency of elders in Kerala these days are to ignore the issues surrounding them. 'Even though all of them are aware of the consequences, they don't react any more. You know, I have been doing this for ages:creating awareness through various programs, by writing articles, making people take oaths...for the last several years, I have attempted to cover so many issues in different parts of Kerala. But look at our society! there is hardly any effect of these campaigns".

On the way back we came across this news report in The Hindu newspaper in 2005 that said, "Sugata Kumari bemoaned the lack of interest in issues like the ruining of rivers by the sand mining mafia and an unbelievable water shortage in the land of rivers, tanks and ponds"...
Glad to see that people like Sugathakumari still continues to have the passion. That inspires us!

suggestions invited for cover design of the book

Continuing the initiatives to build up a participatory process in publishing the book 'Puzha Malayalam', we are inviting public opinion to design the cover-page. A trial sketch and layout for the book cover has been provided by our friend Manoj Parameswaran from Thrissur.

Background of how the book evolved can be read here .

"Puzha Malayalam is an exploration of Kerala and her rivers; a journey that begins with Kerala’s cultural history and wends its way to the environmental degradation of the State. It is a book that illustrates how rivers are a part and parcel of the Malayalee way of life. A book that reminds us that the death of a river is the death of Kerala itself and that the only way to protect life is by protecting rivers. A book that offers glimpses of hope, even as it underlines the burning realities of environmental degradation in the State. Written in the language of love, this is a book for every Malayalee who cherishes rivers."

You can post your comments here, on facebook or write to us directly.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

CN Karunakaran on rivers

"Compared to my childhood, status of rivers in Kerala at present is quite sad. We all believe that we are knowledgeable about our water sources. However, except for some individual initiatives and small scale interventions in local issues, there is hardly any in-depth study undertaken on rivers yet. Rivers being elixir of life, polluting and exploiting of its water sources is a cruelty to the coming generation. As a medium, I believe that a fine art like sketching has an important role in spreading the awareness about rivers and related issues." CN Karunakaran

CN Karunakaran along with MT Vasudevan Nair, Artist Madanan, Cartoonist Venu, Dr Latha Unnikrishnan, C Jayakumar and Rajiv Menon will be reviewing the entries received from public as part of the crowd-sourcing initiative from Nila Foundation. The select entries from the competition will adorn the front pages of forteen chapters of 'Puzha Malayalam', a book on the status of rivers in Kerala.

The book will be released on the UN World Environment day 05 June 2010 in Thunjan parambu. Our next press conference will be in Trivandrum on the 17th Apr to announce the list of judges. For more details, please contact our colleague Prakash on +91.9388131777 9446280603.

pic The Hindu online

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SMAAS tours and travels to support the initiative

SMAAS tours and travels based in Tirur, Malappuram district has announced its partnership in inviting sketches for the Puzha Malayalam book. A well known DMC in Malabar region, SMAAS has been supporting Nila Foundation's various initiatives for a while now. On 22 APR 2010, they are hiring space at Thunjan parambu to organise a workshop similar to summer camps that we shared in the previous blog posts. About 20 youngsters will be sketching on the theme of "my river".

Mohammed Baven, entrepreneurial proprietor of SMAAS tours and travels said, "It's with great pleasure that we are joining the initiative. We will be canvasing in all regions we are active to inspire people to contribute to sketches. As a first step, we have organised to have a workshop in Tirur Thunjan Parambu. We are also been discussing the possibilities of approaching the public with a chart paper and black ink pen asking people to sketch in locations like taxi stand. "

Crowd-sourcing of sketches can't get better. More details of SMAAS tours and travels can be found here.

Rajiv Menon joins the judging panel

Cinematographer and film director, Rajiv Menon has joined the esteemed judging panel of Nila Foundation to identify the best 14 sketches that will adorn the introductory pages of 'Puzha Malayalam', a book on status of rivers in Kerala. Famous for his cinematography in movies like Bombay, Morning Raga and Guru, Rajiv has directed two Tamil feature films Minsarakanavu and Kandukondein Kandukondein.

Rajiv who hails from Anakkara village that falls on the banks of Nila will be joining the likes of C Jayakumar, CN Karunakaran, Dr.Latha Unnikrishnan, Artist Madanan, CK Sujith Kumar, MT Vasudevan Nair and cartoonist Venu. Brief profile of these eminent people can be read here.

Due to a hartal called on the 27th Apr, we are forced to postpone the judging date to 28th Apr 2010. River Retreat in Cheruthuruthy is hosting the whole day exercise.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Karuvanchal high school and more

Prakash, co-ordinator of Puzha Malayalam publishing just returned from another small workshop where students from Karuvanchal high school got together to sketch 'my river' as part of the global competition we are organising. Selected sketches from the entries will adorn the introductory pages of 14 chapters in the book. The last date for sending in the entry is on 25th of APR 2010. Nila foundation also has finalised the list of judges for selecting the sketches. MT. Vasudevan Nair, Artist Madanan, CN Karunakaran, Cartoonist Venu, CK Sujith Kumar, Dr. Latha Unnikrishnan and C Jayakumar will be meeting together on the 27th Apr to chose the winners. More details here.

'Desodharana Vayana Sala', a public library situated in Kuttikakkam, between Thalassery and Kannur has announced its intention to organise a sketching workshop for youngsters on the 18th of April. Under the leadership of drawing master Sivadasan, the public library has been organising regular Sunday workshops. The workshop on 18th Apr will start at 0930. For more details contact Sivadasan on +91.97475.68401.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Judging panel announced

Nila foundation is glad to announce judges who are coming together to select the best 14 entries that has been invited from the public from all over the world. The selected sketches will adorn the introductory pages of 14 chapters of the book 'Puzha Malayalam' to be published on the 05 of June 2010. The judges will be gathering at Thunjan Parambu on the 27th APR 2010.

Judges (in alphabetical order)

C Jayakumar
- a passionate environmentalist, Jayakumar manages Thanal - an NGO based in Kovalam.
People behind Thanal are those who have, at some point in their lives, come together on the common concerns of nature conservation, environmental health and justice.

CN Karunakaran - is renowned for his highly stylised figures and intricately decorative patterns that weave across the pictorial surface. CN is currently the chairman of Kerala Lalita Kala Academy.

Dr.Latha Unnikrishnan - her name became synonymous with Chalakudy river conservation. Set up the Chalakudy River Research Centre and played a crucial role in influencing public and political opinion against the Athirapally hydro electric project.

Artist Madanan - Chief artist of Mathrubhumi weekly. Many short stories and novels in Malayalam lived through the characters he wove. His sketches bring in nostalgia about Kerala to many readers of Mathrubhumi weekly.

CK Sujith Kumar - Co-author of 'Puzha Malayalam' Sujith is another passionate environmentalist. His previous book on agrarian practices of Kerala is now a study material for Calicut university.

MT Vasudevan Nair - “For me, Nila's significance is greater than that of the greatest ocean in the world", Vasudevan Nair once famously said. Pained at seeing the indifference of people while Nila withers away in front of their eyes, MT recently announced that he will not write any more about Nila!

Cartoonist Venu - The popular satirist Venu is a free-lance cartoonist, columnist, painter and 2D animator. There are hardly any periodicals that haven't carried Venu's signature cartoons.

Sargotsvam to organise sketch workshops

'Sargotsavam' a two-month long summer camp for children upto the age of 17 is an initiative from 'Jawahar Bala Bhavan' in Thrissur. An autonomous organisation affiliated to Government of Kerala, over 1,200 students from different parts of the state are attending this camp to explore traditional arts, dances, music and even martial arts. The camp inaugurated by Smt. K.P.A.C Lalita on the first of April 2010, is aimed at providing young children an opportunity to interact with students from different regions of the state.

Shri P.N Bhaskara, principal of Jawahar Bala Bhavan announced a special workshop to sketch 'my river' on 23rd April to enhance the undertanding of students about rivers and to contribute to the competition organised by Nila Foundation. The sketches will compete to be amongst the forteen select images that will adorn the introductory pages of the 14 chapters of the book Puzha Malayalam. The book is to be released on the 05th of June 2010 at Thunjan parambu in Tirur, which is also a day celebrated by the United Nations as World Environment Day.

The last date to send in the sketches for the competition is 25 Apr 2010. Check here for more details.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Two more workshops to sketch

'Prakrithi' summer camp and Chinmaya 'poonkavanam' are the two new entrants to join the series of workshops to do sketches on the theme 'my river'. Prakrithi camp will be organised at Government higher secondary school in Karuvanpoyil in Kozhikode district on the 12 Apr 2010. Workshop will start at 10.30.

Chinmayam mission's summer workshop has been going on for last ten years and this year there will dedicated sessions for youngsters to sketch their interpretations of rivers. the two weeks camp will be conlucded on the 20th Apr. Both the workshop entries will be competing with other entries that are participating in the "My river" sketching competition organised by Nila Foundation.

14 selected sketches will be used to adorn the introductory pages of 14 chapters of the book Puzha Malayalam authored by C.K Sujith Kumar and K. Umadevi. The book is to be released in Thunjan Parambu on 05 June 2010 which is also the world environment day.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The unique climatic and geographic conditions that created the rivers

Chapter synopsis: A river's nature is shaped by the geographic and climatic pecularities of the region which it flows. This chapter introduces the reader to the unique geographic and climatic conditions that created Kerala's rivers. Even as it presents an overview of Kerala's geography, this chapter talks about the state's unique weather conditions. It also offers insights into the geographical factors that led to the formation of Kerala's coast and those that caused some of the state's rivers to dissappear over the years.

Read more from other chapter synopsis from the book Puzha Malayalam which is to be launched on 05 June 2010 in Thunjan Parambu, Kerala

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Brushmen's to join the river campaign

Amongst many schools and summer camps, the latest entrant to participate in the 'my river' sketching competition is 'Brushmen's school of Arts in South bazaar, Kannur. Managed by Sreejith MC, the summer camp with the focus on rivers will be organised on the 17th of Apr 2010.

It's also a special moment for Brushman's as they are celebrating their siver jubilee year. Certainly an auspicious time to celebrate rivers by inspiring their students to be part of Puzha Malayalam initiative.

Mr. Sreejith completed his Masters in Fine Arts (Sculptures) from Jamia Millia University, Delhi and along with Brushmen's, is also the founder of Malabar Kalakendra institute of visual and performing arts in Kannur district. Sreejith also has ventured into animation technology in 2002.

Mathrubumi newspaper also carried a small story inviting sketches in it's Calicut edition today and we are expecting this to trigger more enquiries. Along with many sketches from Kerala, today we also received a river sketch from a 9 year old girl from Austria.

For more regular updates, check us on twitter.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Dhyana sankalpam students sketch 'my river'

Dhyana Sankalpam mural school in Kozhikode district provided an opportunity for its students to sketch their interpretations of river this Sunday.

This was an initiative to help Nila Foundation find the best 14 sketches to adorn the chapters of its upcoming book Puzha Malayala, a status on rivers in Kerala.

Harikumar, a resource person at the workshop reminisced his memories of rivers during childhood and how much it was part of his life. Unfortunately, he sadly recollected the fact of how rivers are separated from day to day lives of children these days. Deena Kumar, art teacher at the Karuvanpoil higher secondary school interacted with the students on the importance and bio-diversity of the rivers and urged them to express their concerns about river through sketches.

The Hindu newspaper also carried a short feature on the initiative yesterday. Puzha Malayalam, is set to be published on the 5th of June 2010 at Thunjan Parambu.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Anaswara Chitrakala Vidyalayam joins the initiative

The number of summer camps joining together to sketch for the river is rather over-whelming. We just got a confirmation that Anaswara Chitrakala Vidyalayam near Kakkodi in Kozhikode will be organising exclusive workshops in simultaneous locations in Kerala.

Shinoj Kumar, a drawing master by profession, has been regularly organising workshops to nurture the aptitude and talents of youngsters and students. Starting from 4th of April there will be five workshops for students till early May 2010. The workshops are organised for couple of hours only in a day so as to ensure that the students get to enjoy their summer holidays. For more details on future workshops, please contact Shinoj on +91.93888.90548.

For more details on the competition Nila Foundation is organising, please check here

Thursday, April 1, 2010

SANS creations - Thrissur to organise sketching workshop

'SANS creations' based out of Thrissur and managed by Ms Jeeja Bhaskar, is dedicating one day of her summer workshop with students to inspire them to sketch 'my river', Out of all the entries recieved from around the world, the best 14 in three different age categories will be chosen to adorn the 14 chapters of the book 'Puzha Malayalam'. The 400-page 'Puzha Malayalam is an exploration of Kerala and her rivers. This is a book that reminds us that the death of its rivers will be death of Kerala itself and the only way to sustain life is by sustaining the rivers of the state.

Ms Jeeja Bhaskar has been running SANS creations for the last two years and have been training students in drawing, painting, clay modelling, fabric painting, embroidery to name a few. She has also been running successful culinary workshop at her school. Jeeja is organising several workshops for the summer vacation this year. She can be contacted on + 91.487.2360.697 or on email.

Similarly, Dhyana Sankalpam mural school in Kozhikode is also organising a specialist workshop for its regular students to sketch on the theme of 'My river'. Check out for more details here.

About Me

My photo
What was once the life line of Kerala, is today a decaying, dying river. It is out of concern for Bharatapuzha (River Nila): the erosion of the river banks, the dilution of its culture, neglect and depletion of its resources - that the Nila foundation was formed. The foundation intends to provide a common platform for those who are concerned about rivers in general and River Nila in particular.