PCF Biennial Symposium 2023 Public Opening

03 December 2023


Whose History is it, Anyway?
Performance choreographed by Venuri Perera.

How can we question what we have been handed down as our historical inheritance? How can we reclaim and reimagine the stories we are told and critically reevaluate who has the power to tell them? 

Taking inspiration from the book The Archive of Memory - Reflections on 70 Years of Independence - curated by the late Malathi De Alwis and Hasini Haputhanthri with photography by Sharni Jayawardena. 70 objects and corresponding narrative fragments present history as a living thing, a personal experience, to be passed on to the generations after. History, as lived by real people, appears simple on the surface, but is alive and complex, often times telling a tale that is morally ambiguous, murky, and difficult to explain. The book is a ground on which the diverse group of performers can converge, as it cuts across the barriers of language, age, gender, class, and ideology. It is a springboard to dive into their own memories and inheritances.

Image by Diluckshan Puviraj

The process of creation is a rehearsal of radical acceptance, of being together in a way that welcomes disagreement and difference. It is a critical reflection of our collective history, to allow us the possibility to shift how we experience our present. Whose History is it, Anyway? is a resonance of this encounter and a collective ritual of hope. 

In memory of Malathi De Alwis. 

Concept and choreography by Venuri Perera. Co-Creation and performance by Pathum Dharmarathna, Hasanthi Niriella, Kanchana Malshani, S. Priyasaravanan, T. Mathisaliny, Chathu Sri Wijayanarayana, Daham Anurada, Sathurshan Kannan, Indika Lakmal, Bhagya Virajini, Shashika Madhushan, Stefan Tirimanne.

Sound design by Isuru Kumarasinghe. Lighting by Jayampathy Guruge. Dramaturgy by Sara Mikolai. Production coordination by Namal Bandara. External advice by Imaad Majeed, Tehani Chitty, Sandev Handy, Ruhanie Perera, Chathuri Nissansala, Namal Jayasinghe, and Sumudu Manelanga. Special thanks to Dayani Abeysekera, Indrakanthi Perera, and anonymous allies.

Image by Diluckshan Puviraj
Image by Diluckshan Puviraj

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