Contesting the immediate assumptions that largely define a country post-war, Disambiguation attempts to re-frame contemporary Sri Lanka through ten artists, their art practices and concepts. The juxtaposition of their portfolios and the works creates the entry points for this re-framing by challenging as well as connecting to stereotypes, contextualizing what is contemporary and interrogating the political, social, cultural and local.
The artists chosen to participate in this exhibition form a combination of ethnicities and identities, including expatriate and diasporic. Their works refer to subjects of post-colonialism, gender, displacement and migration. The artists are both established and emerging artists whose education has taken place in both the North and South of the island as well as overseas. The mediums and subjects epitomize the oeuvre of each artist in as much as they connect to Sri Lankan culture, society, history and politics. The variation of works is representative of the diversity that exists within Sri Lanka’s contemporary art landscape, which is usually assumed to be predominantly two dimensional.
These works are created in direct relation to the artists’ surroundings. Their organic production is a defining characteristic of the island’s art scene, influenced by international art practices yet completely authentic in an endogenous expression and subject matter selection. The exhibition is an attempt to present compelling new identities and expressions anchored, with varying fidelity, to an ancient civilization increasingly confident of its critical engagement with modernity. The attempt of the art is to underline the unique nature of Sri Lanka’s contemporary art scene, that neither aspires to Westernize itself nor fit in with regional practices. It is the beginning of a new movement in Sri Lanka’s contemporary art scene.