All events are free
Open Call – Artworks about the Archive
6–7 July 2013, Colombo
10am to 6pm
An exhibition of 16 artworks made in response to the Mobile Library and the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design.
J. Abiramie, Muhanned Cader, Marisa Gnanaraj, S. Hanusha, Sharni Jayawardena & Malathi de Alwis, T. Krishnapriya, , S. Puranthara, P. Pushpakanthan, G. Samvarthini, N. Savesan, K. Suresh, T. Thajendran, Pradeep Thalawatta, Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Thisath Thoradeniya (working with Kumari Kumaragamage and Janananda Laksiri) and M. Vijitharan.
Open Talk – Talks about the Archive
6–7 July 2013, Colombo
A 2-day programme of talks, including a film screening about the subject of the archive.
Saturday 6 July
Siting Research – Sabih Ahmed
Is the archive a benign place? Sabih Ahmed will present case studies from India that relate to the disciplines of art history and visual culture and reflect on the archival impulses of our time, in their institutional and non-institutional forms.
Digital Traces – Sanjana Hattotuwa
Sanjana Hattotuwa will look at the growth of the digital archive in Sri Lanka. He will reflect on the ways the archive is being generated – how curation, participation, technical platforms, and use have altered how we assess our past, re-examine our present, and capture them for posterity.
Inheritance: the Burden of the Archive – Sharmini Pereira
Sharmini Pereira speaks with relatives of two major Sri Lankan artists about the imperatives and choices they have faced in their efforts to share, and to keep private, their family archives. With Deborah Philip, granddaughter of artist and architect Geoffrey Beling (1907–1992) and Jomo Uduman, son of artist and cartoonist Fareed Uduman (1917–1985).
Celluloid Man: A Film on P. K. Nair – Dir. Shivendra Singh Dungarpur
Produced by Dungarpur Films, India, 2012
35mm; English with Subtitles; Duration: 164 mins.
Released this year to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s film Celluloid Man is a documentary about the life and work of the legendary archivist P. K. Nair. Fuelled by a personal passion, P. K. Nair travelled all over India collecting cans of film that would otherwise have been lost. He founded the National Film Archive of India and is regarded as the guardian of Indian cinema.
Sunday 7 July
Noolaham Foundation – Sivananthamoorthy Seran
In 2005, two students began an open source, un-edited, digital archive of material concerning Tamil speaking peoples of Sri Lanka. In 2012, nearly 115,000 different users accessed 2.5 million pages of material on the Noolaham site. Run as a crowd-funded, non-profit organisation, the Foundation employs over a hundred volunteers in Sri Lanka and overseas to scan and archive materials from personal and institutional collections. Director S. Seran speaks about different approaches the Noolaham Foundation has taken to building its archive of print material – through personal, institutional, and community collections.www.noolahamfoundation.org
Spittel’s Travels and Other Stories – Dominic Sansoni
Dominic Sansoni has recently begun scanning and documenting family albums that contain disappearing histories of Sri Lanka. He will comment on the beginnings of this exercise and introduce us to a few excerpts. One collection Sansoni is working with is that formed by the diaries and photographs of physician, naturalist, and writer R. L. Spittel, recounting the journeys he made at the turn of the 20th century to document Veddah communities.
Archiving the Archivists in Jaffna: Material, Memory and Loss – P Ahilan
Personal archives have played a crucial role in the creation of public and national archives as well as in registering alternative or other voices. They exist in the slippage of the personal and the public. This presentation examines the personal archives of four key archivists from Jaffna: the late Kalaigani Selvaratnum, a studio photographer; Mylankoodaloor P. Nadarajan, a retired school teacher; Kurumpasity R. Kanagaratnam, retired from the private sector; and Mr A. Jesurajah, a retired Post Master. While considering their intentions, interests, and methods in relation to their collections and accounts, it also traces the socio-political context of their endeavours.
The Search for Lester James Peries’ Nidhanaya – Anomaa Rajakaruna
The burning of film studios in Sri Lanka’s 1983 riots, as well as an inadequate preservation of film, has resulted in great losses from the Sri Lankan film catalogue. A search has been underway to find the negatives of Lester James Peries’ critically acclaimed Nidhanaya. While the picture negative remains missing, five years ago a sound negative was found. Filmmaker Anomaa Rajakaruna will tell the story of Nidhanaya as a physical object. She will reflect on the significance of the recent discovery and on the future of the film archive in Sri Lanka. Nidhanaya means ‘treasure.’
Closing song – Ajit Kumarasiri
Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design
Launched by AAA and Raking Leaves, the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design will be presented alongside Mobile Library in Colombo. The first of its kind in the country, the Sri Lanka Archive will continue independently after Mobile Library closes in Sri Lanka. Second copies of many materials collected by the Sri Lanka Archive will be donated to AAA, enriching its representation of Sri Lanka for international audiences.