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The Burden of Paradise: An Exhibition of ‘Malaiyaga Stories’

To mark the bicentenary year since the British brought down South Indians to work in their newly established plantation sector in the central hill country of Sri Lanka, the Department of Fine Arts and Art Circle jointly organised “ Burden of Paradise: An Exhibition of Malaiyaga Stories”. at the Department’s Art gallery from 24th to 31st August.
This was the 18th event of Muthusam that aimed to document and share local heritage. The exhibition was curated by Prof. T.Sanathanan in collaboration with the Malaiyaga community and third-year special students of Art History; Muhammad Sifaya Fatima, Priyadarshini Selavarasa, Panjalingam Lajeeban, Panchadsaralingam Renuka, Sandirakumar Rathika, Srikirupakaran Dishanee and Ratnakumar Nivashini.
The exhibition consisted of forty-five everyday objects representing stories of Malaiyaga community presently scattered all over the island, was jointly inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor, University of Jaffna, the Dean, Faculty of Arts, eminent Carnatic singer T.M. Krishna, eminent writer Perumal Murugan, historian Prof.A.R.Venkadasalapahy, and Kalachuvadu editor, Kannan.
As part of the exhibitions, sharing sessions and a dance performance were organized, which included storytelling of the students from Malaiyaga community on the 30th of August and a discussion on the topic of .“Art and the identity of Malaiyagam” by Hanusa Somasundarm (Visual Artist) and R. Thanaraj (Performance Artist). Through an emotion-packed Barathanatyam performance, R. Thanaraj shared his life experience as a dancer on the 1st of September at the Art Gallery.