School of Creative

Sasha Benuka Pinto-Jayawardena

Sasha Benuka Pinto-Jayawardena

MA Arts and Cultural Leadership
2020 — 2021

Sasha is an artist, art director and arts manager with diverse skill sets. Coming from a professional background in graphic design and art direction has helped her understand brands, marketing, design, experiences and consumer behaviour. Her time in the MA Arts and Cultural Leadership programme at LASALLE College of the Arts has further provided an understanding of operational/management aspects of businesses. Sasha's background in conflict resolution enables her to mediate between disjunctures in diverse cultures. As the child of a practising fine artist who was also the principal founder of her own school of art, Sasha is also interested in the use of art as a pedagogical tool to shape the values of young people.


Research interests
BTS, ARMY, the contemporary celebrity artist as a global arts and cultural leader, audience engagement, the changing agency of audiences, the commodification of the artist, changing global culture, global citizenship through the arts, the value and role of art and the artist, social surrogacy

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Thesis abstract

Beyond the sound: understanding BTS as an example that explains the emergence of a new type of global artist

Rapid changes in global culture spurred on by social media, celebritism and the rise of global citizenship have changed the way the artist connects with the world. In this context, BTS’ global success and fandom indicates the emergence of a new type of global artist that fosters the values of global citizenship. Global citizenship is a concept that first emerged in the early nineties and has been practiced by many artists such as Bono, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Halsey. However, there is a difference between the practice of global citizenship by these artists and BTS, and that is through the way BTS use their aesthetic goods as a medium to shape their audience’s practice of global citizenship. 

The manner in which BTS influences fans to physically contribute to society in a positive manner, evidenced by the countless sociopolitical global projects of the fandom, becomes indicative of the creation of a culture of global citizenship by the artists, which arguably has not been achieved before. Very little is known about how the artists’ global self-identification and self-actualisation as a global citizen in today’s context is reflected through their art. Yet what is clear from the observation of BTS is the advent of a conscious sociopolitical artistic practice that shapes the global citizenship of their audience.

This study employs a mixed methods approach that is predominantly qualitative to investigate how the global self-identification of the artist influences the aesthetic goods in a manner that shapes the global citizenship of their audience, how this impacts communities, and how in return it impacts the artists. Specifically, this paper aims at understanding the artist as an arts and cultural leader in the context of changing global culture. 

Resources used in this research included primary and secondary resources such as in-depth interviews, the group’s officially released audiovisual aesthetic goods, official interviews of the group, documentary films, speeches and addresses (for example, at the 75th United Nations General Assembly). The literature review of this study provides a thematic/conceptual framework upon which the insights from the analysis of primary and secondary resources are built upon, the aim is to build on existing theory and propose a scope to scale this study beyond BTS and music practice. Therefore, this study works towards providing a framework for global artistic practice based on the insights gathered from using BTS as a case study to explain the emergence of a new type of global artist that fosters the values of global citizenship.

Work experience

2020 – present
Shyamala School of Art, Sri Lanka
Strategic Business Development & Management Consultant

2017 – 2019
Triad Pvt. (Ltd.), Sri Lanka
Junior Art Director

The Colombo Art Biennale
Graphic Designer, in-house