Posts Categorized: Arts & Culture

The Real MIA in Sri Lanka

by Jack Healey, ‘The Huffington Post,’ Los Angelos, February 19, 2013 (founder, Human Rights Action Center)  Bad Girls video It always starts with James Franco, doesn’t it? “Pineapple Express,” a Franco and Seth Rogen vehicle that came out in 2008, used “Paper Planes” in a red-band trailer for their film. Thus the artist M.I.A. became known outside… Read more »

Ini Avan: Hauntingly Beautiful But…

Ini Avan, Asoka Handagama’s latest film, in Tamil, has won international cinematic acclaim. And it is easy to see why. The film has interesting characters who within their confined destinies take some unpredictable turns and moves at a compelling and deliberate pace through carefully designed frames with strong aesthetic appeal that are also revisited, like recurring… Read more »

Jaffna Cooking from Very Far Away

Sambol in Jaffna is very important. There are a variety of sambols and I get to indulge in four types at Aliyaa — katta, seeni, pol and karupillay. Katta is similar to our sambal belacan but is prepared using spicy Maldavian fish while seeni is made of sweetened onions. My favourite is pol. Made with coconut, it has the right amount of spiciness and sourness. Karupillay, which is made with curry leaves, is moderately nice albeit a bit bitter.

Graphic Violence

As I sat in the small, sparsely furnished, concrete room, in a slum area of Chennai, with my old and dear friend, profusely apologising to me about the stench coming from the stagnant pond outside, and the now five-year-old girl sitting on my lap calling me Maama (uncle), still with her fat cheeks, I realised that this was the story I wanted to tell.

This family had survived eight months of vicious bombardment on a small stretch of beach, had seriously contemplated suicide together in the final weeks when they could not take the onslaught anymore, had lived through seven months of internment hell in the UN-built, government-run camps and then fled to India.

M.I.A.’s New Book

By contrast, M.I.A.’s self-titled book is a document of isolation and resistance, clearly the product of one person following an idiosyncratic path…
M.I.A.’s work speaks for the many people whose lives and stories are “missing in action,” which is partly the source of her pseudonym, M.I.A. ..
“If you wanted to hear the other story, you had to go find it,” Maya writes. She was aiming to bridge the gap. The art she made after that trip was a blueprint for the movement of her work in the years to come—it evolved from a documentary to film stills to photographs to stencils to prints to songs. She photographed and blew up the video stills of missing Tamils—some were “faces of girls her age, frozen in a moment of video, sometimes between life and death” and others had images of rockets, tanks, palm trees, and camouflage uniforms.

Prison Break

“I just had a call from an old school friend. His old Ayah’s son is a prison guard at Welikade. Apparently 35 Tamil political prisoners were killed by rioting inmates” he said. “These were mostly political prisoners awaiting trial”.

Tamil Poetry In Post-Colonial Sri Lanka

These are my last words
Equality, peace and freedom

Where there is no equality
There is no peace
Where there is no peace
There is no freedom

These are my last words
Equality, peace and freedom

You deny my equal rights?
You lose your own sense of peace
And your freedom