Rejuvenation of Folk Arts

Folk arts are as old as humanity. They cover the entire gamut of human activity from womb to tomb. Common people (folks) described their everyday chores through little songs (arts), giving birth to the term, folk arts. The artists performing were promoted by villagers, who would often get them to perform at every conceivable opportunity. A symbiotic relation thus existed between the two, leading to development of the art form. It slowly evolved with time, matching societal norms and beliefs. Also it became a strong means of how the Indian culture got orally recorded and passed on to the next generations.
However with the passage of time, advent of “modern” education & dynamic entertainment (cinema & television), this art form was soon overshadowed. As a result, many folk art forms perished. Only a fraction of these are still alive, but still struggling. The artists often live in abject poverty and many have given up on the art as a means to living.
With these arts being an important link in our cultural history, it is thus important to revive as much as we can. People like Sri Nendunuri Gangadharam et al have strived immensely towards the preservation and promotion of folk art. We too intend to utilise our means towards that end.

Dr. B.V.Parameswara Rao, Founder, BCT, felt that the revival of folk arts could help manifold. It would help preserve our culture, arrest the rapid downfall of values and anchor people to their history. He along with Dr. Pappu Venugopal (Secretary, Madras Music & Dance Academy, Chennai), Dr. Murali Babu (Dance Director, Vigyan School, Vizag), Dr.Anita Shanmughanathan (Director, Aeka Academy) met at BCT in February, 2010. Many aspects became clear in the discussions and it was noted,

  • That rejuvenation of folk arts is achievable
  • It can only happen if children are involved,
  • A School of Folk Arts must be established

As a first step, all 105 children in the BCT Model School High School were soon trained in six folk art forms, under the able guidance of Dr. Murali Babu. These forms included Kolatam, Burrakatha, Jamukulu, Chitikelu, Tappetagullu and Dappu dance. The training was conducted between 23rd April to 30th April at the BCT Farm Complex, in Haripuram. Immediately after the training programme, the children performed in various villages.

A positive response in the villages, motivated us to take our journey a step further. The 24-hour non-stop program at Visakhapatnam was so performed as a means to bring rural art forms to city dwellers. We felt this would be just apt to increase awareness on the culture and traditions of the region. As the process takes on, the art forms and the morale of its performers will surely be rejuvenated, and these dying art forms will hopefully be promoted, protected and in the long run, preserved.