• Children, on Religion

    When one speaks of religious diversity in Sri Lanka today, the key word that comes to mind is tolerance. What does religious diversity mean in Sri Lanka today and how do we practice it? In light of all the growing intolerance against the Muslim and Christian communities, it’s a significant question that all Sri Lankans must attempt to answer. Photographing religious diversity can be done through the colourful festivals and rituals, the places of worship, the multi ethnic multi religious communities living together and praying side by side, the various temples and churches and kovils and mosques scattered all around the island, a testament to our religious diversity in its most obvious sense. In this feature, photographer Sharni Jayawardena looks at religious diversity in Sri Lanka through a different lens – through the eyes of children, the younger generation that will define what religious diversity means for the future.

    Contributor - Sharni Jayawardena

    Posted in peace, conflict, recovery

  • Rituals, Unpacked

    Sri Lanka is rich in religious and cultural rituals. Some of them are a mix of different religions and many of them cut across communities. This feature, while not an exhaustive list of the country’s many rituals and beliefs, explores a select few that highlight the richness and diversity of our country. Instead of documenting them through an obvious lens, we took a more conceptual photography approach with studio photography by Shafraz Farook and narratives by The Picture Press team. We have ‘deconstructed’ them, focused on the elements that make up each of these rituals, and highlighted the significance of the items used. From cleansing rituals that use turmeric and lime leaves, fragrant incense burning practices and auspicious rice meals shared by three religions, 5,000 rupee alms to monks, to wearable tech thats replacing wearing pirith strings, this feature takes a unique look at rituals, practices and beliefs that have shaped, and are shaping, Sri Lankan society and culture today.

    Contributor - Shafraz Farook

    Posted in peace, conflict, recovery peace, conflict, recovery

  • Intolerance and Islamaphobia in Post-war Sri Lanka

    "‘Being Sri Lankan’ to me is a confusing idea sometimes. Do we really have an all-encompassing identity that cuts across our cultural and religious differences, or are we just unfortunate inhabitants of the same piece of land? Having grown up all my life in a country torn by war, the hope I felt after it finally ended was very brief. The war now only appears to have been a symptom of a disease we have failed to address the root causes of. Today ‘being Sri Lankan’ has been reduced to a crude ‘with us or against us’ rhetoric biased to a ruling regime that has arguably appropriated and been appropriated by hard core right wing ultranationalists." Through photographs and narratives that are both personal and interrogative, Abdul Halik Azeez explores religious intolerance and islamophobia in post-war Sri Lanka.

    Contributor - Abdul Halik Azeez

    Posted in peace, conflict, recovery peace, conflict, recovery peace, conflict, recovery

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