On Sunila Abeysekera

Note from Curator: This is an entry cross-posted from my blog. I last saw Sunila alive when she accompanied Subha, her daughter, to a panel discussion on how we see our past. Subha was the moderator. When the Ceylon Today asked me to write a short piece after her death, the memory of her at Park Street Mews – with soft pillow in hand, resting on a row of seats, eyes closed yet listening keenly to the session was very fresh in my mind. That she came was a complete surprise but I am so glad she did, and moreover, …

Presentation: Bradman Weerakoon on Black July

Deshamanya Bradman Weerakoon was invited to join Dr. Devanesan Nesiah in the first or four panel discussion held at the venue of the exhibition, on 24th August 2013. As Sri Lanka’s first Commissioner General of Essential Services (CGES) Mr. Weerakoon has unique perspectives to share around the violence in July, its aftermath and lasting impact. More details of the panel discussion, along with a recording of the session, can be accessed here. M. Weerakoon’s Powerpoint presentation on Black July can be downloaded as a PDF here.

Scanned images: Black July newspaper coverage

As part of the 30 Years Ago exhibition, a small selection of Tamil, Sinhala and English newspapers from the time of the pogrom, sourced from the National Archives, were scanned in very high resolution, digitally printed and displayed. These digital scans were the first time newspapers from July 1983, with varying degrees of coverage on the pogrom, was made available on the web.


30 Years Ago was launched in August 2013 by Groundviews, to commemorate 30 years since Black July. Building from the critically acclaimed Moving Images two years ago, Groundviews brought together leading documentary filmmakers, photographers, activists, theorists and designers, in Sri Lanka and abroad, to focus on just how deeply the anti-Tamil pogrom in 1983 shaped our imagination, lives, society and polity. Photograph by Sachini Perera