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Artist’s Initiative Transforms Personal Loss into Community Connections

In the heart of Vellulla village, Jagityal district, Telangana state, India, a once-desolate mud-built house, steeped in the shadows of personal sorrow, is emerging as a beacon of hope and connection for rural communities, thanks to the visionary efforts of Indian artist Praveen Maripelly.

Maripelly, pursuing Ph.D. (Practice as Research) in Performance Studies at the University of California-Davis, USA, recently unveiled his transformative initiative dubbed “PrayogIllu.” Drawing inspiration from his own lineage and the healing power of art, Maripelly’s project seeks to repurpose his ancestral home into a vibrant interdisciplinary space for community engagement and learning.

“Prayogillu’s community building aligns with the ethos of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam“ (The world is one family) is a Sanskrit verse from Indian scripture, “Maha Upanishad”, emphasizing interconnectedness, collectiveness, and togetherness” ——- Praveen Maripelly

With roots tracing back to the late 1800s when his great-grandparents erected the humble abode, Maripelly’s familial ties to the house were entangled with dark emotions, depression, and trauma. Yet, through years of personal growth nurtured by yoga and artistic exploration, he envisioned a new narrative for this ancestral property—a narrative of resilience, connection, and empowerment.

“PrayogIllu,” a fusion of Hindi and Telugu words meaning “experiment” and “house” respectively, embodies Maripelly’s ethos of transformation through experimentation. The project, launched on October 2nd, 2021, encompasses a multifaceted approach to community engagement.

At its core, PrayogIllu serves as a heaven for rural inhabitants, offering a reading room, experiential learning opportunities, and virtual educational resources. Through artist-in-residence programs and cultural exchanges, the space becomes a dynamic hub for socialization and global connectivity, bridging the gap between local traditions and international perspectives.

From virtual lectures and video screenings to digital literacy initiatives and language courses such as English, PrayogIllu fosters a culture of lifelong learning and cross-cultural exchange. Moreover, the project integrates physical activities like yoga, dance, and sports, promoting holistic well-being and personal empowerment. Maripelly’s journey as an artist and Ph.D student has traversed continents, with educational milestones including a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, and a Master’s degree in Visual Arts ( Printmaking) from M.S. University of Baroda, India. He also obtained Bachelor’s degree in Painting from P.S. Telugu University, Hyderabad, India. Besides he is a community-based yoga instructor who founded volunteer based part-time yoga foundation called S.N. Foundation (www.108snteam.org) based in Vadodara, Gujarat, India. Additionally, his unique project “108 Surya Namaskars mountain performance” did on 41 mountains in 8 countries with 4 continents. He is a recipientof National Academy Award in Fine arts and holding Limca Book of Records for high altitude performance of 108 Surya Namaskars on Mera Peak (20,177 feet) in Nepal without oxygen cylinder. Grounded in his artistic prowess and fueled by a passion for community building, he envisions PrayogIllu as a catalyst for rural renaissance, where scholars, educators, artists, and villagers converge to share knowledge, foster creativity, and cultivate meaningful connections.

Through PrayogIllu, Praveen Maripelly embodies the transformative potential of art and community engagement, turning personal loss into a powerful force for positive change in rural India. For more information and updates, visit www.prayogillu.org.

“PrayogIllu is my ancestral house that is artistically conceptualized site-specific interdisciplinary and alternate place as an experiment in rural-global connection as well as for community that aims to blur and reconfigure both social engagement in the rural world, and rural and global cultures For more information and updates, visit www.prayogillu.org ”

– Praveen Maripelly
Founder, PrayogIllu



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