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Tale of Two Masjids

A beginner’s guide to Islamic Architecture in Serendib Like all tales – meaning stories inevitably personalized in their telling – this one too has to start with a backstory: It goes back to the memory of myself standing, at the age of nineteen, in front…

Conflict, Confluence, and Continuity

Tracing the lineage of religious architecture in Kandy The year is 1825. The second Bishop of Calcutta, Rt. Rev. Reginald Heber is visiting Kandy, the hill capital of British Ceylon, accompanied by Governor Edward Barnes for a Confirmation Service. The event takes place at the…

Temple as Museum; Religion as Art

Exploring the Tivanka Image House in Polonnaruwa The serenity of the Gal Vihara Buddhas is best experienced at dusk, when the setting sun throws a spirited glow on the gigantic granite statues. By six o’clock, the sunlight is lifted like a curtain and the night…

The Greater World: Islands, Oceans and Beyond

The Nestorian Cross I clearly recall the moment I came across the Nestorian Cross of Anuradhapura for the first time. It was one of those museum moments, when one small artefact stands taller than the rest in the crowded collection, and grabs a distracted visitor….

Colombo 2020: Wonder of Asia

“Here is the City Paranoiac. All these long centuries, growing over the country-side? like an intelligent creature. An actor, a fantastic mimic. Pointsman! Counterfeiting all the correct forces? the eco-nomic, the demo-graphic? oh yes even the ran-dom…” Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, 172 I built Colombo…

Box of Treasures

“Home” never has been just a physical space. The awareness and the acceptance of the fact that the home is more than a tangible acquisition is coming to light, now more than ever. At one time, when the world was comfortable and settled on a…

Rising Voices

Directed by: Natalie Soysa with Strinner Macklain Adams Rising Voices is a documentary film in English, Sinhala and Tamil that explores the personal stories of a number of women who experienced the war and its aftermath, and how they manage various sociocultural and economic issues…

Island of Encounters

Wrapped in the blue waves of the Indian Ocean, dangling off a mysterious subcontinent right on to the crossroads of the East and West, Sri Lanka has been since times immemorial a land of rendezvous. Those who found their way here from different directions, found…

Picturing Coexistence

Learning about the Other through grassroots comics Comics are used as a means of creating a space for individuals to reflect on, articulate and narrate their (sometimes inexpressible) experiences, prejudices or understanding of coexistence and the ‘other’. They are also used to facilitate talking to…


The connection between the arts and social change is not a new one. For centuries, artists have used protest songs, visual arts and theatre to stoke activism and create awareness on oppression and issues of social inequality in society. Such music is a radical and…

On the Mirror of the Other

‘On the Mirror of the Other’ is the short film series which explores inter-religious relations in Sri Lanka. The films are part of an initiative to address the conflicts between religious communities which manifested in post-war Sri Lanka. The short films, scripted and directed by amateur film-makers from Ampara,…

Home and Beyond

How do we remember what we have been through? Do all of us remember the same incident, the same way? What would we rather forget? Home and Beyond is an attempt at understanding how differently we remember the same events, depending on where we were…

Mother North Rising

Natalie went on to create Mother North Rising, a visual investigation that manifested in a series of photo-essays and documentary film that give voice to the women of the north. She interviewed 10 mothers from Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu, Jaffna and Vavuniya, examining their personal stories, juxtaposing…

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