My ancestral house was built with mud in the late 1800s by my great grandparents in Vellulla village, Jagityal district, Telangana state, India. It has been deeply connected to my dark emotions, depressions, and trauma. Four generations lived in this house: great- grandparents, grandparents, my parents, and me. I was born in this house and my parents died in this house. Therefore, my memories of this house were negatively rooted in me. I believe that art is the way to heal and transform my unpleasant memories. When I left home to pursue higher education, the house lay empty for years, while I relied on my yoga practice to build myself back up again. I decided that my ruined home in Vellulla would become a flourishing place of community connection and learning. Here is the link to how I converted my ruined home into a community place: https://youtu.be/dKAQRx7YZWs. My artistic practice has for years built thriving communities, through yoga and other social practices and I wish to take that knowledge and experience and apply it to changing this house. PrayogIllu: An Interdisciplinary Place in Vellulla, India built on this earlier work, in the footprint of my ancestral home, to turn personal loss into a place where people can come and connect. PrayogIllu is a combination of two words: ‘Prayog’ is a Hindi word that means ‘experiment’, and ‘Illu’ is a Telugu word that means ‘house’.Visit for more details: http://www.prayogillu.org.
There are several modes of community engagement happening at PrayogIllu that began on October 2nd, 2021. Firstly, the local rural community experiences PrayogIllu as a reading room, or a place for experiential and/or virtual learning. Secondly, PrayogIllu is a space for socialization and social engagement with rural and global communities through artist in residence programs. Thirdly, PrayogIllu is an interdisciplinary place that fosters engagement with students and villagers in a rural area and uses technology to connect them to global communities. PrayogIllu invites scholars, educators, various scientists, artists, artisans, and motivational speakers to share their expertise and provide the rural communities with wider knowledge about global cultures. Some of the programs happening at PrayogIllu are a community library, virtual lectures, video screening, digital literacy, experiential learning, foreign languages (German & English), yoga, dance, group games, arts, artist in residence, artists and community, women empowerment lectures, sports, and competitions.