Monday, September 14, 2009
"History of Histories': An Instellation by People of Jaffna at the Public Library Jaffna.2004
History of Histories
An Installation by.People of Jaffna ,collabrated with T. Shanaathanan, S. Kannan, K. Tamilini, K.S. Kumutha, R. Vasanthini.
Concept of artwork:In one of the Buddhist jathaka stories, one mother requested the Buddha to give life to her son, who had died by snakebite. The Buddha told her that if she was able to get a handful of rice from a house where no death has occurred, he could then be able to give life to her son. Then, this mother went to each and every house in the village to get the rice, and found that there was no house where death had not occurred. This story brings us to the contemporary reality of northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka, which are the battlefields of conflicting histories, which had also seen war over the last twenty years. Loss, destruction, despair, disappearance, suffering, death, exodus and nostalgia became part of mundane and ordinary experience. There is no house or street or village or town without the touch of war. They are affected physically or psychologically. Even though the people restarted removing the physical destructions of war and engaged in reconstruction, they still live with their inner wounds in the ‘no war’ time.
This artwork, ‘History of Histories’ was specially done for the Jaffna Public Library, which was burned, and itself became a memorial for the civil war. Like a local Hindu madipichchaikaran who goes from door-to-door and collect rice in order to organize an offering at the temple as part of his vow, we collected materials from 500 houses (randomly chosen within the Jaffna peninsula). These materials represent the owners’ history and memories of last 20 years of their lives in this land. In the process of collecting these materials, they shared their experience and memories in relation to these objects. We have arranged these materials in the form of a museum where we have tried to amalgamate these small parts and the ordinary things into a factual history of this society. Like the way madipichchaikaran shares his food, in the end we too share our experience with others. The viewers of these memories may construct numerous histories through the process of viewing this work.