Hema Shironi

Dismantled All Words to Construct a Letter


Due to the history of colonization and the civil war, displacement and migration has been a common lived experience of the community that I belong to. My art practice is deeply rooted in observance of such conditions which I highlight through my personal stories and experiences of living in Sri Lanka.  

From childhood, my family has been migrating from one place to another place that always created confusion to me while connecting with the surrounding community. I also remember the difficulty to connect and how to categorize myself in the newly moved community as where do I belong to? Soon after civil conflict ended, I moved from the Central province to the Northern Province of Sri Lanka for resettling down in Kilinochchi. The bounded landscape there, the day to day life experiences, and local beliefs always made me think of my identity.

The idea of identity in my practice has given shape to my nostalgia by recreating the places I lived in different houses for a short period of time. I have used different sources and references to critique the people made spaces, and on also how the environment has been changing day by day due to human behavior. Through my work, I am interested in exploring political themes around the subjects such as domesticity, language, culture, memory, religious myths, gender politics, tenacity and fragility.

Working on such theme raises many questions, and but possibilities emerging in my work to help me to resolve some recondite issues related to notion of identity I have strived to give voice to the stories of those marginalized by history with a focus on human and universal aspects of conflict and the relationship between the exploiter and the exploited.

I worked in the stitching on fabric, but it is not expanded and mixed with other forms of media like different patterns of fabric, printed papers and steel net and left-over objects to give a form to my experiences with the visually layered narrative.

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