Friday, October 29, 2010

I Am

For the first time in a while there's a new kid in the Lankanosphere, one that I'm captivated by and excited about.

It's less of a blog, more of a project, one that is accessible via a blog and is listed on Kottu.

Kannan Arunasalam, the maker, is a friend of mine. In the short time I've known him I've been bowled over by his still photography. In fact he's rapidly becoming one of my favourite photographers. Most of his images give me that butterfly in the stomach feeling, the one that's my first point of reference in deciding whether a photograph is brilliant or not.

This project, called I am, is a combination of photographs and audio. Here's what Kannan says himself:

"I wanted to find out whether there were people around who still remembered that time or spoke in those ways. My journey took me to Jaffna, Kandy and Galle, where I met a generation of Sri Lankans who helped to shed light on these questions.

"wise men and women"I captured their stories in sound and pictures and the ‘i am’ oral history project was born.

‘i am’ tells the stories of 36 Sri Lankan elders, about their lives and work, and their connections to their hometown. These wise men and women also reflect on the positive and negative changes that have taken place over the years.

With the movement of people away from their hometowns, particularly from Jaffna and Galle, I also spoke to the so called ‘internal diaspora’, about their longing for their hometowns and their sense of belonging to their adoptive homes.

I found storytellers who were willing to share their lives with me, and from the collection of narratives, I chose 36 characters to showcase on this site. I also wanted to encourage those I met on my journey to tell others about the project, and in turn, encourage them to tell their own stories.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be posting these narratives three at a time and take you through my journey.

I want you to engage with these stories of community, identity and coexistence, to see how different or similar they are, and to think about what we can learn from the past, and take forward, and what is better left behind."

Check it out, it's rather brilliant, very fascinating and makes a chap feel proud of his heritage. Well, if the chap is me, not some random fellow from Uzbekistan. There's even one about a drummer, though it's not me and I'm guessing he can't play anything by the Killers or Muse.

This was a public service announcement from RD, with slightly messed up formatting because of a combination of copying, pasting and ignorance.


Chavie said...

Thank you for the pointer RD. This is truly an interesting and I feel important project, something that nobody's attempted to do before. Will be sharing that link! :D

Magerata said...

RD you entertain us all the time with wonderful stories and links. This is one of the best. This man is brilliant but I bet he can't play drums.
I would keep that photography admiration bit low, certain barefooted photographer might not like it and you may not be able to set foot on barefoot