Exhibition recalls horrors of civil war in Sri Lanka

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Artists are attempting to keep alive the ‘scars’ of the over 25-year-long civil war in Sri Lanka through paintings, craftworks, photographs and installations.

Nine artists from the neighbouring country attempt to capture a portrait of the island nation through decades of conflict in an exhibition currently underway at the India International Centre here.

Titled “Portrait of Resistance,” the 5-day-long exhibition is a grim reminder to future generations on the futility of violence.

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“These works are of resistance and remembrance. We artists resist forgetting and work towards reminding. We remind people of the recent past… the recent suffering. This is important to make sure that people do not repeat the same mistakes,” says Jagath Weerasinghe, whose works are on display

Through one of his works titled, “Who are We Soldier?” he tries to draw attention towards the brutality with which a man fighting for his country is ripped off his “human identity.”

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“It is about the soldier’s human identity and how it is taken away from him,” Weerasinghe says.

His earlier works also revolve around the same subject of war. In ‘Anxiety’, ‘Yantra Gala’ and ‘Round Pilgrimage’ he depicts the state of the nation in the aftermath of a prolonged period of conflict.

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“Please remember that we were not mere observers of war.

We were as much a participant in the violence as any other person.

“Memories live with art and art talks about both sides of the story. Art talks about both – the oppressor and the victim,” he says.

While arguing that ‘history is inescapable’, the show vindicates why such memories, however traumatising, must not be erased. .

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