'Intellectual environment is remarkable here'

'Intellectual environment is remarkable here'

Passing By

The commonalities between India and Sri Lanka have helped people understand and appreciate the work of 50-year old contemporary artists Anoli Perera, who is in the City for her solo show titled ‘Memory Keeper’ at Shrine Empire gallery, Lado Sarai.

The artist, through her life-size installations such as a canopied bed and headless mannequins has delved into the subjects of Sri Lankan civil war, mass exodus of the
ethnic-Eurasian Burghers - a local tribe, and other interesting vignettes from
the island’s history.

Sri Lanka and India have a lot in common and the things Anoli relates to here, are spices, their usage, dishes of Kerala, similar cooking styles using coconut and
Hinduism and Buddhism.

“India and Sri Lanka have a connection down the history (sic). There are so many commonalities. One thing is spices. We use the same kind of spices in our cooking, may be in different degrees and combinations. Then we have so many dishes similar to the ones made in Kerala and this is besides using coconuts for cooking,” she shares with Metrolife.


This is not the first time Anoli is exhibiting in Delhi. She has been coming to the City since the late 1990s to participate in group shows. “Though there are different kinds of people in any given country, I find the intellectual environment in India, particularly Delhi, quite remarkable. A lot of cultural stuff is also happening here,” she says.

Her exhibition has drawn a lot of positive feedback. “Many people commented on the work Left Behinder, the bed installation dealing with Sri Lanka Eurasian community. Some of them wondered what happened to the Eurasian community that used to be in India. Some were interested in the ‘Ghosts of Swarnabhumi’ which talks about the Civil War in Sri Lanka which ended in 2009 after 30 years.”

Having been a frequent visitor for many years now, Anoli has a lot of advice for Delhiites. “Delhi is very green although most trees get camouflaged by dust, unfortunately. The facilities have improved over the years but I do feel it needs a better garbage management system and people need to be made aware of how to help preserve nature and not discard waste on the roads.”

Though she doesn’t follow Indian films regularly, Anoli informs that Bollywood has influenced Sri Lankan cinema and music. “Bollywood films and music are very popular in Sri Lanka. I don’t follow either very closely but I enjoy the roles played by Rani Mukerji and Aamir Khan,” she adds.
                  

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