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Return: a collaboration of Sri Lankan theatre and visual art

Event Details

  • Address

    Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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  • Date

    Wednesday 02nd August 2017


Colombo Art Biennale (CAB), the non-profit behind Sri Lanka’s largest contemporary art showcase, and Stages Theatre Group, one of Sri Lanka’s foremost theatre companies with a social and political consciousness foundation have been invited to present a collaboration of contemporary visual and performance arts at the 70th anniversary of the world’s largest and most renowned theatre and arts festival – the Edinburgh Fringe (August 2017).

The Artists:
Maya Bastian, Sujeewa Kumari, Anoli Perera, Rajni Perera, Pala Pothupitiye, Kanesh Thabendran, Priyantha Udegara, Anup Vega, Vijitharan M., Halik Azeez, Venuri Pereira, Kannan Arunasalam, Radhika Hettiarachchi, Ruwanthie de Chickera and David Cotterell

Curated by: Colombo Art Biennale Artistic Director Annoushka Hempel
Dates: Wednesday 2nd August 2017 till 16th August 2017

The Sri Lankan programme presented at the 2017 Festival is an interlinked journey of theatre, installation, visual and performance art, curated to explore the value, the risks and the experience of returning, drawing on the unique insights that the Sri Lankan perspective can offer a world searching for answers.

The Visual Arts programme is part of Return: a collaboration of Sri Lankan theatre and visual art brought to Summerhall by Colombo Art Biennale and Stages Theatre Group.

Colombo Art Biennale (CAB) holds the position as the largest and most internationally recognized contemporary art manifestation in Sri Lanka. Amidst the civil armed conflict in 2009, CAB was launched to harness the power of contemporary Sri Lankan art as a channel to communicate needed social change. CAB recently completed a successful fourth edition.

Drawing from artists that have participated in the Colombo Art Biennale since its inception in 2009, ‘RETURN: in search of stillness’, presents a multi-media visual representation by eleven visual artists and 3 installation projects from Sri Lanka and of Sri Lankan inspiration, to deliver a visual trajectory of catharsis, displacement, exit and stillness.

Work includes Pala Pothupitiye’s politics of cartography, Anoli Perera’s gender, Priyanthha Udagedara romanticization of war, and colonial discourse, photojournalist Abdul Halik Azeez’s religious intolerance in Sri Lanka, mixed-media artist Kanesh Thabendran’s visualizations of the missing, and Vijitharan M’s look into the wheel of war on politics.

Anup Vega will be bringing together installation and performance in his enactment of multi-religious rituals, and Sujeewa Kumari will create space within which attendees can engage with the timeless order of nature. Diaspora artists’ will round off the grouping with Rajini Perera’s take on the politics of cultural identity, and Maya Bastian’s use of video collage to spotlight dissonance and reconciliation within our memory.

Live Artist Venuri Perera examines the varying power of passports in her performance EntryNoEntry, filmmaker Kannan Arunnasalam’s shorts on diverse Sri Lankan identities, researcher Radhika Hettiarachchi’s curated archive of ‘Herstories’ from mothers across Sri Lanka, and Ruwanthie de Chickera with David Cotterrell’s installation examines distancing and objectification to round-off the show.

Annoushka Hempel is the founding Director of the Colombo Art Biennale (2009) and Hempel Galleries (2003) in Sri Lanka. She graduated in Art History & Social Anthropology at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and went on to become head research assistant for The History of North African Art by Werner Gillon before moving to Sri Lanka in 2004.

RETURN is gratefully supported by a number of organizations and individuals with special thanks to British Council Sri Lanka.