Category Archives: art & allure bewitching

KD Paranavitana’s Felicitation Volume: A Treasure Trove

 

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Charlie Chaplin in Bali

Tony Donaldson’s Treasure Trove

Here are two photos of Charlie Chaplin in Bali from my collection.

In one photograph, we see Chaplin in a comical moment as if he is conducting a gamelan orchestra in a Balinese village, possibly Ubud.  He could also be dancing in front of the gamelan — for the way his arms and hands are positioned suggest this  We can’t say for sure. The gamelan players are clearly enjoying this moment with Chaplin, with lots of fun and laughter. A gamelan orchestra is led by the kendang (drum) player – the nearest thing to a kind of conductor in a gamelan.

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African Diaspora across the Indian Ocean: The SIDI Project:

VISIT https://thesidiproject.com/

At Sidi men play drums at t heir communities’annual Urs celebration – Photo copyright by Luke Duggleby for Sidi Project

Few need introductions to the Western movement of slaves from Africa across the Atlantic Ocean. Much has been documented and studied about this horrific part of history. But this wasn’t the only slave route that existed; a far older eastern movement of slaves was forcibly taking people to the opposite side of the world. Between the first and 20th century, beginning with Arabs and the Ottomans, and later continued by the Portuguese, the Dutch, French and the British, an estimated 4 million Africans were taken from their homes, mostly in East Africa, and across the Indian Ocean.

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Remembering Indian Ocean Slavery through Film: Afro-Sri Lankan Memories

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya

Whilst the transatlantic slave trade has overwhelmed the historiography of Africa, the forced easterly movement of Africans is only receiving scholarly attention in the twenty first century.  Movement of Africans from the Continent is not characterised by the slave trade alone.  Not surprisingly, free Africans moved eastwards as missionaries, soldiers, sailors and traders.  Forced migration was concurrent with free migration.

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In Search of Archaic Practices & Features in Ancient and Medieval Lanka

Two foreign personnel, one a British man and the other a Taiwanese Chinese lady, have developed a deep interest in Sri Lanka and a considerable  äcquaintance”, so to speak. with the land and its peAnswer: perhaps Sigiriya?oples, and have recently sent me these fascinating inquiries on arcane topics. Michael Roberts

ONE:  A NOTE from Lewis Bower [i], late February 2021

 Have you heard the term “Argyra” before? It was mentioned in Stephanus of Byzantium’s contribution to the geographical dictionary Ethnica to describe a “thriving metropolis” that he came across on his travels of Sri Lanka… Typing that made me feel like I’m on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”.

We’re talking 5th/6th Century AD so I’d be really interested to find out where he was talking about,”

… Answer: perhaps Sigiriya? … Michael Roberts

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Being Aloysian: Reflections from a Galle ‘Boy’ in the Year 1997

Michael Roberts, a reprint

Intrigued by my speech inflections and my appearance, a friend of mine, a teacher in English Literature,[1] made inquiries after my familial background and my ethnic identity within the melange of ethnic groups in Sri Lanka. She learnt that my Barbadian father had related very few stories in his life and times in Barbados and that my sense of West Indianness was muted. This puzzled her. Forced thus into retrospective reflection I now conclude that I lived my youthful life immersed in my everyday activities without much concern for a distinct self-identity of an ethnic sort.

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St. Joseph’s in Colombo: Service till the Mountains Disappear

 Chryshane Mendis, reviewing Till the Mountains Disappear: The Story of St. Joseph’s College authored by Avishka Mario Senewiratne and late Fr. Dr. Stanley Abeysekera

 

It was well known back in the day that Fr. Stanley Abeysekera was writing a book on College history and through my Grade 09 exhibition project of 2008, I got to know the great man very closely. From then on till I left school in 2013 I constantly dropped by his room and viewed the rare Blue and White magazines  with him and earnestly listened to his stories of College. I was sad that his progress on the manuscript had slowed down due to his failing eyesight and when he was finally called to rest in 2015, I thought the book had died with him.

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Landscapes around Diyatalawa

Krishani Peiris, with photo-work by Menaka Aravinda, …. a repeat from a presentation in 2013 with a different title

Located approximately 1,331 metres above sea level, Diyatalawa in the Haputale District is well known as a Garrison Town. Though it is not clear as to when the place became a prominent threshold for armed forces, historical records show that in 1885, the British had stationed a garrison in the area. And from that point onwards, Diyatalawa has being able to carve its own niche in the history of Sri Lanka.

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The British in Ceylon: The Camera as Power

In 2011 Godfrey and Amar Gunatilleke sponsored the presentation of a pictorial history entitled Potency. Power & People in Groups, (Colombo, Marga Institute, 2011, ISBN 978-955-582 129-2.

Kotahena Riots 1883

This work was, albeit partially, the presentation of items gathered by Ismeth Raheem and myself for inclusion in the coffee-table book that appeared in the year 200o as Images of British Ceylon (Singapore, Times Edition) — items within segments that were excluded because of financial constraints. Such constraints also meant that the pictures in this booklet were not produced in coffee-table quality. The emphasis was on the interpretations attached to the photographs read in context.  While the booklet is still available at relatively low cost, the opportunity is taken here to widen the readership via the reproduction of sections — itself a project inspired by Anura Hettiarachchi’s translation of the work into Sinhala.[a]

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The 43 Group in Ceylon: Their Story

Rohan de Soysa,  copy of a PowerPoint Presentation made to the National Trust of Sri Lanka on September 29, 2016 by Rohan de Soysa transcribed into text format …. with coloured underlining [as distinct from that in black] being emphasis imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

The Origins: The `43 Group was the first modern art movement in Sri Lanka. It arose because a group of artists felt that the art being practiced and taught at the time was too academic and rigid; nor did it attempt to follow new developments in European art since the early 20th Century. They therefore decided to form a group more open to these new developments but with a distinct Ceylonese stamp and flavour.

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