The Life of Post War
White Cement and Oilpaint
Far, Far away from the home
It was 2009. I had never thought of escaping my home land. But, there were only two choices in my hand to pick in a moment. Finally I turned to that hard decision to leave the country with nothing at all also no clue of getting back. I came to another world where you are never welcomed, but tolerated. It was literally worlds apart.
I was born in Sri Lanka in a rural village called Galle. I am not sure of the day that I learnt the meaning of the word “human being”. With the demise of time, I went on to become a member of the editorial board of one of the Sri Lanka’s alternative newspapers while being a political activist.
During the civil war in Sri Lanka, Thousands of houses were destroyed and thousands of people were killed. Instead of tweets of birds in the morning, Air raid, shelling, bombing were dominated in daily life. Many families were forced to flee their homes with little or nothing at all. Significant numbers of refugees are living in crowded camps in rural areas where, with extremely limited resources.
Recently I just read a letter which is written by Syrian refugee,
“Aren't we human beings? Aren't we worthy of honorable life? Our life has become unbearable hell? Please help us.”
When I was seen same tragic stories in my country, I was holding my pen tightly against Sinhala –Buddhist chauvinism so that can reveal the catastrophe of the civil war which is not covered by popular media. It punished me in return by throwing me out of my own home land. I have been separated from my Relations and my Friends since 2009, which was the beginning of my long and unending journey as a refugee. Now I’m a refugee.
When you hear the news of Syrian refugee camps, it could be heartbreaking for you. But, when 60,000 people were killed in a corner of northern Sri Lanka, I was only a handful who did not turned a blind eye, and I was amongst them. From the childhood I have been made to see the beauty of my country. But when more than 60,000 people have been killed, over one million left injured without enough food and water and hospitals have been destroyed or badly damaged, I witnessed the total opposite of it. Life of a refugee in a camp is not easy, you never know what to do, who to speak to and where to go. You are only exposed to the elements.
If I tell you the truth, not only I haven’t gone any art school but also I haven’t learned art history or Philosophy of art formally. Inability to express my traumatic feelings clearly in a writing led me to sketch them the way I feel. Then, I named my all Paintings and all Sculptures“after the beautiful”.
So, I invite you to share my story.