My Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Some of you know me and some of you do not. Some of you are my best friends and some of you have met me briefly online and offline. Some of you I have worked with and some of you know about my work.
For the past 18 years I have been working as an multi-disciplinary artist, writer, and translator. I have worked with many organizations, intellectuals, and other artists. I have also worked on many individual projects.
Jointly and individually my main themes of work have been war, human rights, reconciliation, workers' rights, feminist studies, sexual rights, environmental issues, various other social issues and activism.
Expect for a few early years which I worked as a graphics designer and a video editor, I have not engaged in a full time employment for the most of my life. Over the years, various freelance work and also generous compensations from joint projects have been fairly sufficient to support me personally and also my independent endeavors as a cross-platform artist.
After Covid-19 hit the world I have suffered the same fate of thousands of other independent artists and thinkers. Though Covid's toll on Sri Lanka's is comparatively low on fatalities and spread, the country has suffered a hard economic blow due the global collapse of economy. Hence, I have been largely deprived of substantial bread-winning work, on freelance or contract basis, during the whole of past 9 months.
I have been forced to stop all my independent artistic and journalistic work which had been planned to be executed both in the Northern and Southern parts of the country. I have not been able to focus or develop those projects, since I have been putting all my mental and physical energy to sustain myself and my family. I need to start my projects as soon as possible.
I have been forced to restrict myself in my rented accommodation in Colombo, while my family lives hundreds of miles away in the Northern part of the country. I have not been able to share my presence and warmth with them after the Christmas of 2019. I need to move to my family as soon as possible.
During this hard and dark times, I need your generous helping hand for a temporary financial improvement to support my personal and artistic life. I don't own a single square feet of land anywhere in the world, nor do I have any savings left. I have set a very modest target for this fundraising campaign, since I do not want to force an unwanted burden on my supporters. It is the bare minimum which I expect. Please contribute with any amount you can.
Thank You with Faithful Regards,
Planned Projects for 2020/2021
- I am planning to stage my installation/exhibition Walking Through the Fire in the North and East parts of Sri Lanka.
- I am discussing with some Tamil artists in the North, about the possibility of collaboration and developing my installation/exhibition into a group or joint project. I am exploring the possibilities of incorporating live or recorded contributions of the real victims of war into my installation/exhibition.
- Develop collaborative and cross-platform art and literary works with victims of war and other social injustice in the North and East. This will also include exploring possible collaborations with Sinhala, Tamil, and Muslim artists and writers.
- Facilitation of translating Tamil literary works to Sinhala and English languages. I am currently learning Tamil language and translating Tamil poetry to Sinhala and English.
- Develop a comprehensive Web Site which features ground level, grassroots, and amateur artists and writers with an emphasis to the North and East.
- Documentary Filming and Research about the housing question and gentrification in the country.
- Research on possible collaborative and cross-platform art and literary works with upcountry Tamil tea estate workers.
Recent Individual Projects
Walking Through the Fire
A public installation in Colombo and video performance screened at Éclair Open Studio, Theertha Red Dot Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Walking Through the Fire
An online exhibition launched during Covid.
The online exhibition was hosted at http://red-eye.space/portfolio/walking-through-the-fire
However, unfortunately I lost the website due to payment issues.
Walking Through the Fire is an installation of objects that belonged to the victims of the final phase of the civil war in Sri Lanka. These objects carry the collective and individual trauma of the victims of war. They also carry the psychological impact which the artist himself endured while investigating and documenting the fate of the victims. The objects were collected by the artist during numerous visits to Mullivaikkal, where the climax of the war took place, after a decade since the devastation. This installation in Colombo, attempts to explore how these objects interact with static and dynamic public spaces.
The Case of Meethotamulla
A Short Documentary Film on the catastrophic collapse of the Meethotamulla garbage dump in Colombo, which cost the lives of 32 people, damaging 146 houses, and displacing more than thousand people. (22 Mins., Sinhala Language)
I am planning to reproduce this in English and Tamil languages.
Other Projects which I have been involved with
Trikone Arts Center and Veteran Film & Theatre Director Dharmasiri Bandaranayake
2002 - 2003: I worked as a team member of Cine Yatra Film Festival held in Trincomalee, Jaffna, Vavuniya, and Batticalao.
2002 - 2015: I have been a member of various projects by the center working on the themes of war, human rights, and reconciliation.
2003 - 2009: Social Scientists' Association I was the Translator and the Book Designer of Various Books and Pamphlets related to social issues, human rights, feminist studies, tsunami, and sexual rights
2004: International Crisis Group: I worked as an research assistant to research on the Bindunuwewa Massacre which resulted in the deaths of 26 Tamil political prisoners held at a detention center in Bindunuwewa, Sri Lanka.
2008: Burning Memories by S. Someetharan: I assisted Someetharan to do research in Sinhala Language for this documentary film on the burning of the Jaffna Library.
2017 to 2020: I have been involved in a few selected long term projects which deals with the themes of war, trauma, and other social issues. Details of these projects are still not to be released to the public until they are completed.
2019, Theertha Performance Platform: I assisted artist Lohan Gunaweera with his performance Conversations about Chelsea Manning, where I documented a photographic and videographic story of his performance.
2019, Unseen Eyes, A devised theatre play by Kanchuka Dharmasiri: I was an actor, singer, and a member of the musical composition team of this play. ‘Unseen Eyes’ is a stage play directed by Kanchuka Dharmasiri, scripted as a text combining a selection of poems of Bertolt Brecht and Kumari Kumaragamage. The theme and ‘scenario’ of this play is the plight of victims of war. The focus is on the fears and emotions of the civilians whose lives were irreversibly devastated after they were displaced in the last phases of the war in the North of Sri Lanka.
2019, Curtain Call, A Short Play by Sarath Chandra Walpola: I acted in this play. It is a non-verbal play which deals with idiosyncrasies of language issues.