“MAN is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself as the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the Social Contract 1762.
We, human being usually go place to place and sometimes we might migrate within our country internally and sometimes outside to foreign Land or we might just travel to different places. When we go to a new place, usually we try to connect and understand people through their culture, customs, habits and also behavior and we try to mingle with them to become one among them. Some countries have openness to welcome people from other cultures and show gestures by accepting the guest whole heartedly to their lands. Thoughts that cross our mind that moment we land into foreign place is whether we will ever become part of that land and will I be accepted or not, whether this is going to be easy or tough since there is lot of barriers like Racism, Ethnic issues, Religious and political aspect involved.
This performance was an interactive performance where audience were requested to give me small piece of earth to me in a sack bag or by applying clay on my body. Symbolically giving a small piece of earth will be like giving a small space in their homeland, metaphorically giving space in their homes. The act also denote welcoming gesture for me in the country, where I travel and since it is international event I will be collecting the smell of different soil from around the world. These small bags of earth which basically acts like metaphor to represent small space for oneself in every corner.
The act of making space in my journey, in so many land and collection of small piece of soil and making place for my own space in different foreign lands indirectly denotes a form and imagery of a multi-story building visible in urban spaces. It also acts like metaphor to urban culture, when we build our own space in mega cities trying to fit in that small space and identity in more larger context. This performance was to engage my audience in more ritualistic act, where I will prepare a recipe for them which represent the taste of my land and this will be in combination of dual act of preparing, decorating a recipe and second act is of giving and sharing the food which represent taste of love from my land. The whole performance will be an act which will involve a long ritualistic process, there will be more space to understand, accommodate, tolerate and respect other cultures and share the whole world without boundaries and rules that are manmade. It is not ruled by rules of countries, their relationship with each other or rule of race, ethnic, religion or cultures. It will be only ruled by Law of humanity & nature. Even when we live in our country we need to follow rules of land which sometimes makes you think me why we have this boundaries are made? A naive question that dwells in my mind like who has made all such systems, laws and why one has to rule other, all such crazy and more childlike questions and constantly comes to me.
This performance will bring in concerns in a larger context; also will raise questions on various issues related to collective identity, the construction of urban spaces which are the result of rapid development of larger cities and reducing rural space. The urban cities lead to building our identity in more multicultural platform, where it leads to hybridization and mix of different cultures. In other perspective, the individual identity is also influenced through various factors and can be studied from different view point, it can be represented with particular ethnic, religious or any other ideological group following or representing masses, depending on race, religion, ethnicity, belief system, region and country, one individual belongs to. So overall when we talk about the identity of an individual in larger context it becomes complex and stays as collective identity from this various sources. The identity is formed by adding all this collective memories and become one come complex format of collective identity of individual. The views are also drawn from vantage point of cultural landscape one come from. So, for me this performance will mark an important platform for a cultural dialogue and also understanding and making space for different cultures in International platform. In this performance I have tried to blend various elements of both, cultures and essence of the place I come from and also adapting Sinhala Culture, by incorporating voice modulation of Sinhala language and collaborating with students to their voice in local language them in my work, S o I could make blending of cultures in totality.