Listen now

For 25 years Sri Lanka went through a bitter civil war between the majority Sinhalese and the Tamil minority.

Earlier this year the country was declared bankrupt and has been facing a major economic crisis, with shortages of medicines, fuel, cooking gas and food. Tens of thousands of people, the vast majority of them peaceful, took to the streets to stage the biggest mass protest in the country’s history, storming the presidential office and demanding the resignation of the President. He fled the country in July and a state of emergency was declared.

The hub of the social and artistic movement for change was Gota Go Gama in the capital Colombo. One of the artists who was part of this make-shift village is Yasodhara Pathanjali. She told Saroj Pathirana about the art work she created there.

Singer songwriter Namini Panchala tells us about her protest song “We all have a common enemy” and mutli-disciplinary artist Imaad Majeed explains how he’s been using the arts to bring communities together.

Filmmakers Prasanna Vithanage and Anantharamanan discuss the complexities of putting Sri Lankan stories on screen. Prasanna is one of Sri Lanka’s leading filmmakers whose work explores ethnic conflict and Sri Lanka’s dark days during the Civil war. Filmmaker Anantharamanan also explores Sri Lanka’s conflict in his short films, and his debut feature “The 6th land,” is inspired by the many Tamil mothers and wives, still searching for their missing sons and husbands.

Novelist Shehan Karunatilaka has just won one of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes, the Booker, for his novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. Shehan tells the BBC’s Martha Kearney more about the origins of the story and its links to the history of Sri Lanka.

Producers: Andrea Kidd and Kevin Satizabal Carrascal

(Photo: A protester in Sri Lanka. Credit: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *