Searching for my mother: house with no doors or windows but curtains where one could walk in and out


Searching for my mother” is work desalting with returning back to the past years of 1980’s, specifically the time period 1983 to 1989; to understand the early phase of the crucial civilian war and the social enigmas within the country Sri Lanka. The work tends to dealt with the falsities of archive materials; frameworks of cropping the truth. Opening through my own mother’s viewpoint. The intertwining of my mother’s memories of recalling; individuals’ memories are tending to be taken as

‘windows of history’, they tend to be taken lesser truthful materials as memories tends to fluctuate with different personas. Yet in this work the understanding of these fluctuations, desalting with human’s tendency to govern their own memories generating a discourse.

The body recalls, the present or the future present of past, pastiness and thought process through creating a dialogue between mother and child(myself). The dialogue tends to create layers about their own discoveries of understanding the frame works of mother, motherland, and mother tongue, identity that comes down through cession, which is been given to us through our mother from the time of birth. These thought process intertwined with the countries 30 years of war and the yet unable to dealt with the recurring similar mentalities, occurrences within the nation. A dialogue between mother and child; creating interactions through space and time. The Sources taken from interviews, archive material personal and public records of the time period were taken into references. The memory, loss and history desalted with rather replacing archive memory as

                  “A house with no doors or windows where one could peep in walk in and out” 1983-1989

Each curtain creates layers that to be uncovered, moves into different spaces which one may feel reluctant Each curtain creates layers that to be uncovered, moves into different spaces which one may feel reluctant of and one may feel curious. The white fades and been processed. At times washed away or bleached. At times the layers peel off uncovering the surface. These are the hidden memories, stories, lies that overlap with truth.

1983-1984:  architecture taken from the burnt houses during the black July massacre

An installation been built that carries a clinical atmosphere of fading whiteness. The white camouflage hides the marks or the scars of time and existence. The space carried out creating compartments. Compartments that are built with architectures of different time periods.

Videos of the house

1985-1986: architecture built of the passage in temple structures of the Kandyan temples that merges with Hindu and Buddhist architecture.

1987-1988: taken from the beginning of upsurge of communist forces and the stories of the existence of cellars during the genocide period.

Each space merge in an existence of a labyrinth structure, that allows the viewer to feel the eerie presence of loss, grief and grotesque to be experienced.

The installation consists of sound that contains singing of a lullaby that emphasis a mother’s calling to protect the nation and consists merged of instructions that was read part of the performance that occurred within the space.


The compartments surround a crib of an infant. The crib exists as a memorial stone of the lost children, the unborn and the compartments circulate hiding the inner crib. It is like an embryo in a mother’s womb.




When creating these elements of curtains . Referring to photographic images of mother with a backdrop of curtain was utilized when designing certain curtains. Their patterns photographed at different timelines. The crib itself taken from the reference from my own childhood crib.

The performances within the work consist of negotiating with intertwining of spaces and upon dialogues of the time period. The work begun with the first performance of identity: that layered with the name that comes down with cession. The performances then moved into the domain of reconnecting with intimate space of ‘mother’ and creating dialogues upon the nation, identity, past and the present after the war. The space within the confinement of home,

“What is home? What is mother? Who is the mother?”