Where is Sri Lanka heading? The country’s post-war transition causes us to question and reevaluate ancient traditions in a digital age and caste system in the age of equality. What does it mean to be ‘local’ in the face of a globalized world? Saskia Fernando Gallery is pleased to present ‘Coast and Concrete’ a joint show that brings together the work of Abdul Halik Azeez and Raki Nikahetiya.
Two photographers whose documentary work of urban and rural communities in Sri Lanka highlight social, political, cultural and economic trajectories and adaptation in changing times. Masters of our Southern Seas – Raki Nikahetiya Against a timeless backdrop, the struggle and the strength of the local fishing community of Tallala is documented over the course of a week. It explores the notion of outsiders and insiders, ancient and modern techniques, socio-economic change and adaption of livelihoods.
This body of work is a window into an ancient means of survival in the 21st century – a glimpse into the lives of the Masters of our Southern Seas. Sub-urban Poetry – Abdul Halik Azeez There is a political poster, fraying, on a wall down a street in Maligawatte, drying alongside the colorful clothing hanging up next to it. A boy is playing with his friends. He is a blur in the foreground.
A woman sits, waiting for charity, her face masked by a signboard, blocking it from the eye of the camera. A one-legged man sells vegetables, his crutch contrasting starkly with a white plastic sack in the background. With the surge of interest from Big Capital in the post-war era, Colombo is caught in the headlights as it sheds one skin in an attempt to adopt another.
Its colors and textures change, its people and cultures face pressures to transform. If the city is a mosaic stretched before us, ripples of social, economic and ideological currents push change across its surface as we watch. With the violence that this change unleashes, new social categories, hierarchies and ways of living begin to form.
As this change spreads, Colombo reveals the truths of its violence with Freudian slips. With sudden open cuts, it juxtaposes little visual jokes. Its contradictions, formed by narratives that do not quite merge, allow us fleeting glimpses of its inherent injustices, the trauma of its latest transformations, and its apprehensions about the uncertain, tenuous future. Coast and Concrete by Abdul Halik Azeez and Raki Nikahetiya is free and open to the public from 26th October till the 15th November 2017 daily from 10.00am – 6.00pm at Saskia Fernando Gallery.