Was there a time when people in Sri Lanka didn’t describe themselves as Sinhalese or Tamil, Muslim or Burgher?
Or at least when these identities weren’t foremost in their minds?
I Am is a unique project brought out by Kannan Arunasalam that aims to bring out old stories and narratives through the elders of the island. Be it dance instructors or educators, Mr. Arunasalam captures striking images, including short multimedia projects, with each anecdote.
The purpose of the project is to connect with people and surface their stories, while highlighting the fact that these storytellers came from an era when there was no radical distinguish between people, no matter what race or religion they came from. Today, the importance that he is giving to explore the identities of these individuals is an admirable operation; one that brings us closer to the very citizens that have done great things for our country.
Mr. Arunasalam is an award winning and internationally known narrative journalist, who has manifested his work in the form of videos, pictures and documentaries. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, on BBC and Al Jazeera.
The I Am team’s dedication for bringing our humble community together is evident in their hard work, putting together all the material they gathered from seniors across the country – from Jaffna, Kandy, Galle, Colombo, Batticaloa and Negombo.
Mr. Arunasalam has reached out to many known members of the nation, genuinely trying to give the world a rare opportunity to directly see the differences between today and the previous generations. Each story speaks volumes of the outstanding journey of life, and simultaneously highlights how different times were.
We are shown a new outlook on self identity and perception through these accounts, because what else can resurrect history better than the voices of those who experienced it?