Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy birth day Ruchi !

Ruchi turns eight today. I captured this when he was walking back from his grandma's place after sharing the cake with her. In the row from the left to right are Nalini, Ruchi, Milith and Nilvala. Amanda stayed overnight at grandma's.

Hands with heeling power. Burns. Abuse. Suicide. Homicide. Women. Misconceptions. Bottle lamps

What we see in the picture above is straight forward. Hands with heeling power put a valiant effort to restore a burnt hand to normality. But related stories are not all that straight forward. They are extremely complex. They are no longer the challenges of modern medicine only. They have become challenges to civilized social and legal systems especially in the prevention and rehabilitation of victims. The Burns Unit of the Colombo National Hospital plays a unique role in this regard. The Unit, which is the only burns unit for the island, receives a number of referrals from all over. The causes of burns, according to the specialized medical professionals, vary : accidents, abuse, suicide, homicide etc. Modern and analytical approaches reveal that there are a number of misconceptions in reasoning burns. The general public, both rural and urban, attributes it chiefly to reasons such as domestic accidents caused by bottle lamps. Medical professionals specialized in burns think otherwise. A phenomenal percentage of women victims, medical specialists believe, have been subject to domestic violence and abuse. A considerable number of them are survivors of suicide attempts as well - suicide, in most cases, as a way of getting out of abuse. Victims, however, are hesitant to reveal the truth due to socio-legal reasons. On the other hand, misconceptions help continue the cycle of violence, which at the end, results in more burn victims. It further obstructs the attempts of empowering women who are subjected to violence, to escape from it. The time has come to look into these issues in the medical-socio-legal context rather than doing it in isolation, and more advocacy is needed for its prevention.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Theertha International Artists' Residency Presentations / Exhibition 2008 at Red Dot Gallery


Anura Krishantha (Sri Lanka), Bandu Manamperi (Sri Lanka), Ernestine White (South Africa), Ferial Afiff (Indonesia), Janani Cooray (Sri Lanka), Suresh Kumar G. (India), Sarath Kumarasiri (Sri Lanka)

Opening : Sunday 8th June 2008 at 6.00 PM

On view : from 9th to 17th June 2008

Gallery Hours: Monday to Wednesday 10.30 AM - 5.00 PM, Sundays 11.00 AM - 4.30 PM.

Theertha International Artists' Collective,
36 A, Baddegana Road South Pitakotte,
Tele: 011 286 5900
Hotline: 0773 862 205

The International Artists' Residency is held as a part of Theertha's international art exchange program, where international artists are annually invited to work with local artists. Since 2004, Theertha International Artists' Residencies have been held regularly twice a year. While artists' residencies do not impose a specific working theme on participating artists, one could see that past residencies have focused on specific areas in the visual art practice. Theertha felt it necessary to emphasize these areas in relation to the overall evolution of contemporary art in both local and global contexts. Past residencies have focused on women's art practices, painting and installations where artists were encouraged to explore and stretch the boundaries of each art medium. International Artists' Residency 2008 has looked at the idea of performance and sculpture where artists were expected to bring out challenging ideas and innovative work. Ferial Affif, a performance artist from Indonesia, Suresh Kumar Goppalreddy, a sculptor and performance artist from India and Ernestine White, an installation artist and sculptor from South Africa participated in the residency where they brought in interesting and valuable insights into residency work practices. Local artists who took part in the residency are Bandu Manamperi and Janani Cooray, who have achieved recognition as strong performance artists, as well as two sculptors, Sarath Kumarasiri and Anura Krishantha, who are known for their socio-politically critical work such as 'No Glory' and 'Stolen Wreaths'.

What is interesting in this residency is the idea of recording the work process as a narrative, incorporating the ideas, moods, work sketches and collected items visually as if entries in a diary. This was done on a wall in their residence which was also made a part of the final exhibition. By doing this, the artists have given emphasis to the idea that the 'final work itself is incomplete without its process, as the process is an integral part of the final work'. This idea heavily contextualized their work within the residency.

The discussions, the collective enjoyment, collective anxieties and excitements of exploration of the new have defined and shaped their work. This aspect can be seen in most of the work done for the residency. The Theertha International Artists' Residency Program is sponsored by the Ford Foundation via Triangle Arts Trust to support artists' mobility through the 'Network' of South Asian artists. Theertha is a member of the Network with Khoj (India), Vasl (Pakistan), Sutra (Nepal) and Britto Arts Trust (Bangladesh).
(text courtesy of the exhibition catalogue)