Year 2009, END OF WAR! they proclaimed. I was one of those 15-year-old’s running on the roads during the celebration. In 2013, I accidentally found a letter which my mother had written in 2009 which was addressed to me. It was a letter about uncertain death as she’s leaving the country as a migrant laborer. 2015 one state regime fallen one begun. (after Mahinda Rajapakshe’s governance ended and Maithripala governance begun). I remember the day in 2004 I had visited the enemy line (during the U.N peace treaty period); children holding firearms, fear of near-death, sleepless nights, violence that exists within ‘home’ and within ‘home’.
To evoke empathy, one must feel guilt. One must feel a cathartic transcendence towards empathy. One must feel the violence enter through your doorstep, and reside among. Like an extended branch of your cocoon.
“I believe violence exists in the mere desire, desire to feel controlled, dominant over another; therefore, I am not enraged with white. While we believe it’s pure, pure that we desire to preserve. Pure because we desire never to blemish. Pure, because we are blinded to witness its layers. Pure, because we are blinded that ‘this is not white’ as ‘white on white ‘ exists”
Buddha stated when one desire to contain the white, soon that desire itself wither it away.
With each rubbing on that white piece of cloth desire diminish the everlasting white
Post-war euphoria has ended. A space creating melancholic phase of Sri Lanka after the devastating civil war and constant political turmoil. What have we gain after this mass dehumanizing destruction? Diabolic between terms of identity, nationalism and chauvinism brutally embedded into the assault of the term “mother“.
They exists within history and in memory.
Mother was said to sacrifice and fight for the country
With an urge to understand the notion of an “ideal woman” I moved into search the persona of “mother“. The work revolves around the abstract notion of “mother”; my own mother been a window to revisit these notions, history and the future present. Navigating a discourse upon the situation and thought process, revoking the memorabilia of the presence of identity. “Mother” not just a term, but a persona creating a dialogue.
Years 1983 to 1989, is a time period of violence, war, disputes, mass genocide, the rise of open market industries (Industrial areas owned by foreign companies), exploiting migrant worker policies; a period of ups and downs. Mother, mother tongue, mother land, mother –fighter, the departure of the poetic mother into a dismembered personification. Violation of the character within the boundaries of home; within the four walls and within the walls of the country (home).
“Attempt to move away from a memorabilia stance into residues of a thought process; creating and ambiance of a home that never exists. “
The space itself en-composes the viewer, the observer, lost within the labyrinth structure.
“it reminds you of a womb, fluid, fragile, soft contours of within “
Mother tends to navigate through each time frame, layers, spaces an engagement which contains an act of “play”. One can hear the emasculate echo of constant singing of a lullaby and provocative instructions as sound. The smell of sanitizing liquid to the pleasant scent of lilies can be felt within the space. (these scented perfumes are during cremation a colonial influence)
Informal interviews ,dialogues with my mother juxtaposed with imagery of drawings and prints en-composes a fleeting cocoon . White ,whitish ,whiteness withered with acts, process and time creating under the universal ideal of “anithya”(nothing ever lasts,change is constant ).
” a house with no doors or windows , where one could peep in walk in and out”
when the war ended now can breathe better
the war ended but in short period of time
We forgot everything
we forgot everything that
all those flesh we forgot
there are people that remember that time periodonce they die they are all gone
that’s why they want to remove the remembering ,of the past
this was the worst period in our motherlandafter 10 years or so they should teach our children this period
what should we teach them mother
what should we rememberwhat is that we search for
what is mother who is mother when we all search motherand mother search children
The ambient created by space, body and time; inter relationship between performance, performative with archaic memory. Audience with each engagement within the space creates changes. Each change left as residues and keeps changing and changing while the white wither with each contact.
“archiviolihic ” nature of identity has been dragged throughout by each performance. They are weaved into tapestry pattern, interlinking space, time, memory and body (identity).
Degamabadage Dona Chathuri nissansala Jayasiriwardena :
H.H art studio workshop
script: writing name in Sinhala and Tamil script , durational
Hexagonal structure of space selected ;reminiscence of architecture of the Dutch colonial history as well as Kandyan architecture. Identity given carries a liability of whom you must belong to ,whom you must portray. These 48 characters was an individual being negations within structures of identity.
Language deconstructs, destructs and creates the space . Constant struggle of identity , part of the history communal violence ( 30 years of civil war ).
Nonchi is a folk character brought into the sphere from Kolama tradition . The character becomes the narrator of the story . Its presence evoked with each body movement , sound which distinguish its persona from other characters. She portrays a satirical mother , played traditionally only by male gendered performers.(as one of the academics notified )
Mother and space :
nonchi ‘ s existence within the space mother resides ,carrying mother’s daily tasks ; duration 24 hours.
Mother writing on child’s body term ‘mother’ in Sinhala and Tamil .
The space which the performance occurs , connects to the past of mine . It has been the same space where my nursery was placed within home . Mother writes on the body as she pours in layers of identity to the child. Nonchi exists within the sound of ” dontha gathan dontha gathi gathan ……” (anklets generating the music)
Mother and letter: writing a reply to the letter 2009 . Space
within the “home”
Performance art negates with the archaic material creating a “feed back loop” .Mother leaves a letter of suicide , leaving the children and traveling away as a migrant worker . The letter written in 2009 end . 2009 victorious military victory of war by the state . Yet what have we won ? . The individual pragmatically lost within the labyrinth of power and violence.
Mother and game :
instructions read by mother to be played within house structure, 6 people at each slots.
Subtle acts of violence resides within civilizations. These become itself the acts of “play” . We follow each instructions .
Baldiya (tumbler)In 1983 black July massacre , the mobs needed to distinguish the ‘other’. One mode was through their vocabulary form . Objects like “baldiya” (tumbler) , are such vocabulary pacifiers. Once they conclude the identity by the accent the person is been tortured or murdered .
Nonchi travels asking in Sinhala to tell the word “baldiya “( in sinhala accent) . Each time she marks them with a dot , “mottu”with a pinch soil taken from the space. The absurdity is that in India “baal ” has many meanings from pubic hair so on and so forth.
mother search for children and children search for mother ; Mother buries the child with each curtain removed and placed within the crib.
what should we teach them, mother
what should we remember
what is that we search for
who is mother when we search for mother
and mother search for children