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It’s About Time is a free event that takes audiences on a journey through Sri Lanka’s history since independence, to celebrate the country’s diversity and recognize the role we play in shaping history. Running from 1 to 10 February 2019 at the Buddhist Hall in Moratuwa, audiences of all ages can experience the past 70 years by way of exhibits, film, storytelling, discussions, games, photography, food, performances, art and more.
The event takes the form of an interactive museum, showcasing up to 20 different exhibits created and curated by local artistes, academics and historians. It is about learning and shaping our history together.
People can walk through the museum by following a mapped path or as part of a guided group. There will also be scheduled events such as “Wada Baila”, a “Memory Walk” around Moratuwa and film screenings. While some exhibits will ask questions, others have games and storytelling using traditional and new methods. All exhibits and fringe events involve discussions with trilingual options for communication, so audiences become more than spectators. There will be a kids’ zone for children below the age of nine, and special activities for teenagers and children above nine.
It’s About Time is a pilot event that aims to travel to 35 locations in Sri Lanka over the next three years. As it travels, it will transform by re-creating the museum with exhibits and activities unique to the places it visits. So, the event not only provides a platform for local artistes, academics and historians to feature their work collaboratively, it also makes such initiatives accessible to all.
The event is an initiative of historicaldialogue.lk, which is supported by the EU- and German-funded programme Strengthening Reconciliation Processes in Sri Lanka (SRP). The programme is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the British Council, in partnership with the Ministry of National Integration, Official Languages, Social Progress and Hindu Religious Affairs.
Some of the exhibits are listed below.
Archive of Memory
The Archive of Memory is a collection of stories focusing on memories built around various personal objects. The stories relate to Sri Lanka’s 70 years of independence, and seven of these stories were published last year. The objects will be on display at It’s About Time, and the stories read out in story circles. You will be invited to share your reflections on the stories and discuss the role of personal and collective memory and its impact on the socio-political context.
A Road Show
Street names are deeply embedded in our everyday experiences. Our homes, school or workplace are defined by these names but how often do we stop to think about their origins?
Reflect on the evolution of some street names. What do you notice about the names and their relevance? Why do street names change? What is lost when we choose to rename a street? Is it possible to narrate a history of the city through its street names?
Our Kitchen Corner/ Ape Kussi Mulla
Enjoy a culinary experience featuring coconut, a key ingredient in Sri Lanka’s culinary history. This exhibit focuses on the coconut, and how we use it across ethnicities & cultures in Sri Lanka be it in sambols, mallungs or curries. A few recipes from different locations showing the variations that exist in grated coconut sambols and mallungs will be discussed. Our Kitchen Corner will also look at traditional objects in the kitchen that are common to all Sri Lankan ethnicities.
Angampora: A pictorial narrative of Sri Lanka’s ancient martial art
This pictorial narrative will shed light on the transmission of tradition in Angampora, the erasure of traditional practices, the arts and crafts associated with this martial art, and revival of dying traditions. It will also look at how Angampora survived underground disguised as dances through hand gestures, poses, moves and costumes. Which elements of Angompora fascinate you the most?
The Herstories Project is an archive of 285 self-narrated, life stories of women. As women’s voices are often marginalised or forgotten completely in the telling of history, Herstories creates a space for ordinary women to share their stories and to be heard. Read & reflect on these narratives of place and people, strength, hope, pain, courage and loss – narratives which become part of the ‘Story of Sri Lanka’. Today, the echoes of displacement, death, disappearance, disillusionment and destruction of property – the costs of war and violence – are everywhere. They become everyone’s story, everyone’s history.
Picture the Past
A photo booth with a fancy-dress prop box to enable participants to dress up and imagine themselves in the past.
Musical Memories Play records and listen to Sri Lankan music from the past and engage in dialogue with the presenters who will share stories of how music connects people.
Some scheduled events:
Memory Walk in Moratuwa
Discover Moratuwa’s history through a guided walking-tour. Visit important landmarks, witness the impact Colonial British policies had on Moratuwa’s industrial and commercial ventures and their growth, and explore tensions that arose among inter and intra caste groups, faith groups, and the ruling colonists at the time.
The Human Library
“Borrow” a real person at the Human Library & ‘read’ their story by engaging in a one-on-one conversation. Choose from a list of available titles & step into another’s shoes as they tell their story and invite you to question & deepen your knowledge of history through their perspective of it.