Cartwheel Initiative was founded by New York based photographer Ashok Sinha after a 2010 visit to Sri Lanka, a country that was emerging from a three-decade old civil war.
In his own words,
“My first time in Sri Lanka was in October 2010. The country was slowly emerging from a long hiatus after a bitter 30-year civil war and attempting to become the next must-see travel destination. Everyone in the industry was writing about Sri Lanka’s new found Eden-like paradise. The New York Times even named it #1 in its list of “The 31 Places To Go In 2010.
Most of Sri Lanka is beautiful, no doubt, but once I reached the northern part of the country where the war was primarily fought, I felt like I was in a different world. The scars of battle were visible everywhere and even more prevalent was a silence – one that is synonymous with my memory of the post-9/11 days in New York.
I realized I had to do something. But what could that be? How can art raise awareness about the human condition and also help spark a conversation about the positive?, I thought.
That is how the idea to create the first Cartwheel Initiative project took root.”