Dilohana Lekamge
A Different Ocean
26 November – 18 December 2021

A Different Ocean centres on a geographic site commonly known as Adam’s Bridge or Ram’s Setu which sits between Sri Lanka and India in the Palk Strait. This stretch of limestone shoals has been a point of contention for many. Studies of this location have yet to concretely determine its age and the processes of its formation. It also has foundational significance in
several religions.

This exhibition responds to the expansive lineage of this site. Resurfacing its histories and recounting them through a lens anchored in romanticism. The collection of videos shot in Sri Lanka creates a collage of moving-image and accompanies the verbal narration that introduces the foundations of this geographical area. Using various sources to research this location, the artist created a new narrative text, connecting the separate stories to the present and acknowledging the external influences that have imparied the view of these lands, even for those who identify with them. This response contemplates the difficulties and levels of despondence which arise when faced with an untraversable distance and inaccessibility.

By presenting a variety of pasts and realms, this installation allows several realities to run parallel. This work layers journeys that were taken in the recent past with those from distant pasts – overlapping ancient and pre colonial tales with that of contemporary post-migration. Responding to histories, not as static periods that have already concluded, but as non-linear and cyclic forms. These reverberations are not just held in one physical place, but are echoed in the experiences of those who hail from that land and live elsewhere. Encountering these mirrored occurrences can create a form of solace, existing as a reminder of commonality, despite earthly separation.

Dilohana Lekamge was awarded the 2021 RM Women’s Moving Image Grant. This project, A Different Ocean is the result.