KEYNOTE: Sights of violence, sites of memory: Reframing the past

Today (Thursday, 13th), 5.30-7pm, Park Street Mews, Warehouse D, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Free and open to the public. No reservations or tickets. Limited seating.

Should sites of violence have new lives and under transformation or remain a memorial to the crimes committed there? How should we remember the violence of the state? The interest of a few to keep alive inconvenient memories and sites – by preservation, discussion, archival and curation spanning the physical and kinetic to the virtual and digital – runs counter to the desire of a majority to look forward, without focussing on the past. A balance is required, but no open discussion on what this should be, and how this can be arrived at occurs in the mainstream media or politics. Some would argue that though the kinetic expression of violence has ceased, the more invisible architectures of power, control, censorship and containment, including over mainstream media, culture and politics, holds hostage Sri Lanka’s potential to secure a more peaceful future by fully confronting what drove it to brutality and violence in the past.

Keynote address by Tissa Jayatilaka (Executive Director at U.S-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission). Tissa has a Masters in Public Administration from Wake Forest University, North Carolina, Master of Arts in English from Smith College, Massachusetts and a Post-graduate Diploma in American Studies. He was been awarded scholarships to Cambridge University and other universities in the States. He is presently the Executive Director of the Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission. Jayatilaka is the author of publications, as well as involved in translations, editing of journals, collections of essays.

Respondent Vangeesa Sumanasekara.