Category Archives: pilgrimages

Traditional Drum Making In Sri Lanka: Beats down the Ages

David Blacker, courtesy of SERENDIB, December Issue 2016 … http://serendib.btoptions.lk/article.php?id=1914

drums On display (L-R) a Tabla, Hand Rabana, Bummadiya, Thammetama, and Geta Bera

The hands and fingers seemed to work to an inner beat, to a pulse, only the drum-maker himself could hear. As wood was smoothed, leather cords tightened, and cowhide stretched, they would be periodically tested, plucked, tapped, thrummed by the fingers, searching for a quality defined by sound. Ironically, in the gloom of the small stall that doubled as a workshop, there was no music whatsoever; not even a transistor radio. The only sounds were those of the tools, the muted conversation, underlined by the tapping.Nimal Wickramasiri is an artist. And his art is the beat. Nimal is not a musician, but the drums he makes are sought after by musicians all over Sri Lanka. Now middle-aged, Nimal has been making drums all his life. His father, awarded by three Presidents, had done the same, as had his grandfather, and for generations before, now lost in the rhythm of time. Nimal’s son, Kasun, is a skilled drum-maker in his own right. The beat in this family’s blood shows no sign of drying up.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Buddhism, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, performance, photography, pilgrimages, sri lankan society, travelogue

Tilak Samarawickrema’s 50 years of Art

Piero Trionfera, the Italian architect reflects on Tilak Samarawickrema’s 50-year retrospective held last month, and speaks of being “Immersed in Tilak’s work” .. .. Sunday Times, 16 October 2016

When a wall becomes a work of art

I met Tilak about a year ago, at a celebration for Bawa, together with other Sri Lankan architects. I was perhaps the only foreign architect there.We started to chat and I rediscovered some of my roots: there is not a large age difference between us, and in the 70’s he lived in Rome, my city. It was inevitable that we would have similar memories of when Avant-Garde Italian design and architecture had reached a level of international standing, especially in Milan, a hot bed of intellectuals and emancipated industrialists, where Tilak had maintained close relations and interests.

So it was impossible for me not to be present at his 50-year retrospective as an artist, which he himself curated. It isn’t so much of a retrospective but a projection of a futuristic perspective.The choice of venue, the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, implies a clear desire in Tilak to place himself in a modern, international niche, and this venue was absolutely perfect for his works and thoughts.

Right from the preview of the exhibition, the hall is full of interested and interesting people and I find myself immersed in his world. I am ready to admire his films, sculptures and drawings.

The welcome I receive at the entrance, the gallery, the people, the “Mythical Bird” opposite me, all bring up in me, a sensation of tranquil familiarity. Then, I reflect and think, but of course, I am at an international-style exhibition, a type I hadn’t seen for a while in Sri Lanka.To the left, an audience sits admiring and commenting on the animated films of timeless quality as well as a series of photos of the artist in his youth. I am also enthralled by the backgrounds of the photos (I am biased, sorry). Besides being a historic testimony of his formative years, they are insights into “my” Rome.

I wander around the exhibition, amongst intellectuals, people of all kinds, elegant and middle-aged as well as sporty youngsters, locals and westerners. It is wonderful that at an art exhibition you can meet all sorts of people with different backgrounds and this is a tangible indication that the exhibition was a success. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, cultural transmission, landscape wondrous, performance, pilgrimages, sri lankan society, unusual people

Anagārika Dharmapāla on the World Stage: Pictorial

15 Dharmapāla at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, 1893, with Swami Vivekānanda on his left

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under British colonialism, Buddhism, cultural transmission, fundamentalism, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, nationalism, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, religiosity, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Reading Amunugama’s Study of Anagārika Dharmapala in LION’S ROAR

Tissa Devendra in The Island, 31 August 2016, where the title reads “

I quailed when asked to review Sarath Amunugama’s 700-odd page work on Anagarika Dharmapala’s life and times. I wondered what else was there to write about this colossus who strode across the Buddhist scene in the ‘Ceylon’ of little more than a century ago. So many of his statues adorn our towns and so numerous are the books, pamphlets, learned articles, both in English and Sinhala, published in Sri Lanka, India, Britain and America that there seemed little new to say. But Sarath Amunugama — administrator, politician, art lover and, above all, a meticulous scholar — has overcome my reluctance with his comprehensive, yet eminently readable, study of the Anagarika’s life and times, aptly titled The Lion’s Roar- a singularly apt description of the reverberations that the Anagarika caused in Colonial Ceylon and India.

Anagarika Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under British colonialism, Buddhism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, economic processes, education, fundamentalism, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, patriotism, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Magical Vignettes on the Sri Lankan Unknowns from an Intrepid Adventurer

Stefan d’Silva’s Isle of Mystique- Isle of Legend – Glimpsing Eclipsed Sri Lanka is an apt title for a publication that illustrates, in vivid colour images and informative text, the wonder of Sri Lanka. The book explores places far from the routine travel agenda of most people. Mysterious rock paintings only recently discovered, cave inscriptions, rock art, old British military fortifications, remote lifestyles of nautical communities, the lost wealth of the Mannar Pearl Banks, the theft of the last Sinhala King’s crown and legends of lost races – and more, are all a part of this 247 page publication with revealing historical facts.

Me 1 Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under citizen journalism, cultural transmission, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, pilgrimages, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, wild life

Peregrinations and Hallucinations in the Kumana Wild

DAVID GDavid Graham … a Comment which the Editor considers worthy of Individuated Airing

Interesting post — [that by Stefan d’Silva on  “Legend and Mystery in Kumana National Park”  ]. Didn’t hear about the nittaewo until one of the wildlife trackers told me about them on a trip in Kumana in 2014. My dad took my brother and me on big game hunts for wild boar in Okande in August 1963 and April 1964. Dad’s friend Dr. Guy Paranavitharne and his three sons were among the hunting party. Also along were my dad’s childhood friend Dr. Rajah Beddewela and Dr. Guy’s cousin Claude Abeywardena and his two sons.

47424388.cached editors’ addition from www.thedailybeast.com

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under cultural transmission, elephant tales, heritage, life stories, meditations, pilgrimages, religiosity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, wild life, world affairs

Legend and Mystery in Kumana National Park

Stefan d’Silva … an original piece responding to ATW Guneratne’sThe Call of the Remote Wild: Kumana in SE Lanka” in …………………………………………………. https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/the-call-of-the-remote-wild-kumana-in-se-lanka/

Kumana: Originally demarcated as Yala East National Park, Kumana was declared a national park with its own borders in 1969. Kumana is well known for birdwatching and its wonderful variety of birds and nesting colonies. Leopard, bear, smaller mammals, reptiles and elephant also roam the park. Off the coast line of Kumana good fishing grounds prevail and attract keen sportsmen with rod and reel. The Bagura plains within Kumana NP is the setting for many a tale from hunters of old, who hunted leopard and bear or merely shot animals ‘for sport’. Kumana was also one place where animals were trapped for the Dehiwela Zoo (in the mid to late 1950’s). The ‘trappers’ travelled by jeep and mainly by bullock cart, carrying nets and camping necessities. Every year in July/August Kumana plays ‘host’ to the Pada Yatra, a most amazing foot pilgrimage undertaken by Kataragama devotees as they trek many miles along the east coast, eventually reaching Kumana and then walking through the Kumana jungles and Yala NP to Kataragama.

IMG_2059 Cave paintings of elephants. Thought to be done by Veddahs. Bowatagala cave complex. This particular cave is used by a leopard as a resting up place during the day (according to the Game Warden)

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under cultural transmission, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian religions, landscape wondrous, life stories, pilgrimages, religiosity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, unusual people, wild life