Global Reconciliation, an Australian-based foundation associated with the Institute for Culture and Society, is hosting a photographic exhibition called 'Ancient Cultures: New Futures'.
It features the photographs of well-known documentary photographers Dominic Sansoni and Stephen Champion, and our own Professor Paul James. The exhibition will open at the Raglan St Gallery in North Melbourne on 9 October at 7 pm.
The exhibition seeks to contribute to the much-needed process of healing by supporting dialogue and reconciliation across the boundaries of continuing difference. Rather than focusing on the familiar images of war, destruction and personal suffering, or on post-war reconstruction and the growing material wealth, it seeks out ambivalent images that encapsulate both the challenges facing the country and the hopes carried by all for a different kind of future.
These images carry the weight of the past—negative and positive—but they also speak of warm encounters, creative confrontations, and powerful new possibilities. The exhibition is organised around the all-pervading presence of the physical and cultural beauty of Sri Lanka, of the trauma to which all—old and young—have been exposed, and on the struggle to emerge triumphantly from the past of sadness and pain.
Four themes form its structure: the all-pervasive, rich and diverse, ancient culture; the unfinished, sad and poignant legacy of the conflict; the determined re-establishment of everyday life; and the struggle for a world of renewed hope and shared achievement.
Above: A woman and her son inspect a bombed-out house on the road to Jaffna (2011).Doing things together and simple humour can overcome all past pain—at least for a moment.
Above: Boys talk to each other at the Oddusuddan School near Mullaitivu (2011). They remember a period when they fought in a war. Being in a war carries complicated memories, but they can be overlaid by new possibilities.
Above: A girl and her mother sit with friends in the Mutuwal informal settlement, Colombo (2011). The girl sits on a rug, surrounded by learning materials.Learning brings hope, even in difficult circumstances.
Above: A Muslim man threads a sewing machine in a workshop in Megawatti Street, Colombo (2011). We all work in different ways to reproduce our worlds.
2 October, 2014.