For this exhibition British-Sri Lankan film maker Kannan Arunasalam presents three film worksincluding a new installation, The Tent, reflecting on the meaning of loss for the families of the disappeared of Sri Lanka’s civil war (1983 – 2009).During the conflict tens of thousands of ethnic Tamils disappeared, including several hundred individuals who surrendered to the military at the end of the war. They were taken away in buses and have not been seen or heard from since. When a new government came to power in 2015 it promised to find answers about what happened to these missing people. However no information has yet been released and the relatives of those who disappeared are still waiting.The Tent focuses on some of the wives and mothers who have been campaigning for information on the fate of their loved ones. Juxtaposing the activity and rhythms of everyday life with the bombast of their protestʼs ʻmedia daysʼ, The Tent invites audiences to reflect on the lives of these women left behind, closely monitored by the authorities, and as Arunasalam says ʻʼcaught between hope and grief but unable to move on.ʼʼAlongside The Tent, Arunasalam also presents two short films Kerosene (2010) and Paper (2010) both about war-time scarcity and resilience in Sri Lanka during the 1990s.
The Tent has been supported by the British Council and Arts Council England through The New North and South; a three-year programme of activity across eleven arts organisations from the North of England and South Asia. The Tent will also be shown as part of the 5th edition of the Colombo Art Biennale in Sri Lanka, and at the Tetley Gallery in Leeds.