Bling !


Mother this land is not ours   Inda nilam ennaku sonndum illai amma (Tamil script)  (participatory performance created in the structure of a  game, where  anyone can join in with the performers or be the performers  themselves)
Bling! An attempt to divulge into the southern artistic ritualistic practice of Sri Lanka. These curative practices were carried out by the marginal communities of the feudal system (Karava ) . Hence throughout their ritualistic practices we could observe them critiquing , resisting the marginality by asserting multiple layers into the oral histories of the practice. by the time of  Portuguese acquisition , we observe the artisans from the coastal region creating a form of absurd theatre as path way. A path way to break away from the shackles of marginality through humor and mockery prevailed in Raygama and Bentara region , known as “Kolama”. 

Nonchi is a character/persona from the southern kolama (absurd)  play tradition. A role defines an absurd old matriarch, married, mother  of three children, wife of a drunken drummer. Nonchi enters as a  masquerade presence bringing in an absurd interplay, interconnectivity upon presence of gender and sexual identity  moving within varied temporalities of spatial presence in time.  Embodying a role of narrator, revoking interplaying elements of  representation of “identity”

Short description of kolama performances

photo documentation of 2020 Bling! performances

Bringing in Nonchi not only interconnects with the tradition, past , identity but it is orchestrated as a form of resistance performative act . Gradually developed with complexities and critiquing its theatrical form . Departing away from its earlier hegemonic representation of dramatical display of an identity.
Southern artistic ritualistic tradition consists of multitude of layered disciplinary surrounding its curative performances  . Mere  fragment of its deep- rooted tradition contains the textile designing practice which embodies the ritualistic performers. The attires therefore distinctive to each branch (Rayigama,Bentara,Matara (longest tradition) ) 
Somapala Pothupitiya, one of the last artisans  of “navandanne” artisans collective ( an artisan who has mastered nine disciplines ), has been my mentor in my quest to divulge into the formalistic journey of this artistic practice. I have been investigating its rhetoric and symbolical motifs that contain a universal interpretation of blessing, healing, and rediscovering about gender identity represented within its language.
These textile patterns clearly symbolizes cosmology and Buddhist philosophy. If one could deconstruct it’s rhetorical configuration ; the patterns speak about healing through blessings from the cosmic entity as well as pathways of enlightenment. What we factually can place is about the gender and sexual construction within these patterns. Buddhism’s “Anaathma” philosophy can be observed with each patterns of cosmic union . Birth occur according to Karma as well as the through karma how the five elements and cosmic balance . Therefore soul has no static being known as “I” or oneself . Therefore constructs a complex hypothesis that “Abhi dharma”  in Buddhism clearly denies static chrono normative structures which formulates identity .


photo documentation of 2020 Bling! performances

In recent times we can observe significant changes of orchestrating curative performances. “Gammaduwawa” ( specific stage for ritual purposes built in villages ) a curative ritual to gain blessings from the guardian deities has constantly been organized by the state at peak agendas . During the 2009 civil war period , as well as many nationalistic events these performances have been significantly modified for Bureaucracy purposes.

Memorials were built according to agendas of power-play or reformed in new modules that played out their schedule of “identity”. My research and process embark on a journey from the newly formed memorials within the Churches (Easter attack 2019) how destroyed, demolished idols we’re reinstated in the form of archaic museum.

The performances were constructed accordingly to the element of “play” or performative encompasses within archives , coined as archiviolithic nature. Enactors as well as the audience merges with each other sabotaging its structural divisions eradicating mimetic representation. The objects/ sculptures instantaneously transcends as sediments or else repertoires of the performance.


‘ Derrida’s analysis of the term “theatre of cruelty” is not of representation , but life itself , in the extent to which life is unpresentable . Life is the non representable origin of representation. Life doesn’t represent anything else but itself , this kind of performance evokes a higher level consciousness. (Liminalities : A journal of performance studies ,vol 14 , No 4, 2018; mapping the non representational Derrida and Artaud’s Metaphysics of presence in performance practice by Spros Papaioannon

Documentation of southern artistic ritualistic performances

Documentation of traditional costume/textile


Mother this land is not ours  

Inda nilam ennaku sonndum illai amma (Tamil script)  (participatory performance created as an act of game, where  anyone can join in with the performers or be the performers  themselves) 

performance enacted in year 2020


Documentation of bling! Performances 2020

The performance takes on the foundational attempt to bring in  elements of absurdism and interplay of performance within the  context of archaic presence in readings of Samuel beckets(theatre of the Absurd), Artaud,  Derrida(performance studies and on archiviolithic nature ) .( references on this context : ‘ Performing remains , art and war in times of theatrical reenactment, by Rebecca Schneider/ The archive and the repertoire ; performing cultural memory of America , by Diana Taylor)

The entire performance circumambulates on a scenario of  interrogation on the basis of subjectivities about imperial identity,  remembrance, memorialization, nationalism within cultural  conundrums. The encounter of a subtle course of actions of  reminiscence and amnesiac prospects leading into chronophilia


The course of narratives emerges from a memory of a sudden demise  of my own mother’s lover, killed during the J.V.P revolt in the year  1989. His identity mislead, misinterpreted to his untimely death. Later developed into poignant topics on ; with the changes in Socio political landscape identity tends to exist as an objective .rather subjective. 
At given situations the identity of the sculptural forms and the enactors merge with each other. One may not able to distinguish who has turned numb at a given moment.

Within each layering of performances how can one culminate memory into tangibility ,which triggers a chain reaction on archaic presence that  encapsulates into material formations. an intimate interconnectivity of  one’s shared presence through objects/materials ontological presence.

Mother this land is not ours Inda nilam ennaku sonndum illai amma (Tamil script) (participatory performance created as an act of game, where anyone can join in with the performers or be the performers themselves)

performed in 2021 , at the COCA Symbiosis , part of the Kal trans oceanic platform ,partnered with Goethe institute Colombo and pro helvitia

Documented images of bling! Performances 2021

Instruction : pour miranda (ornage color bverage) into the cup and drink during the performance audiences shared their own beverages including beer, tea, coffee



Video documentation of bling!2021 performances

Bling ! Scripts

Bling !  Script instructions:

Anyone can dress each costumes laid there 

The enactors who wants to are the ones only able to read the lines

The chief leader is the one who holds the script 

Anyone could follow the leader or else move according to their liberty

The chief leader must always compel the others to follow their decorum 


Benches must be aligned around a table or a structure which is higher pedestal form for offerings

The enactors on the benches have one word to say in a rhythmic vocal range is “sadde” (noise in Sinhala ) or “Saddam” ( Tamil script) .

When the rhythmic singing begins until the end all movements must be halted by the other enactors.


Script of the chief/leader:


The script could begin at any given time 

Anyone could formulate their own way of reciting the lines 

Some could formulate their own lines as well.


Script :


Your made wanted 


Given  hope 

You need to follow

Follow follow 

Follow me 

 Your being loved 

Follow follow follow me


What is right

It is always what i said is right 




We are doing in the name of love 



Do you love mother 

Do you love mother