Biennial Symposium 2023 Public Opening

Venuri perera portrait

The Public Opening of the Prince Claus Fund Biennial Symposium 2023 in Sri Lanka will feature an opening speech by Ila Kasem, Chair of the Board of the Prince Claus Fund, and a dance performance choreographed by performance artist Venuri Perera.

The event is free, please make sure to RSVP to the event via the button below.


Whose History is it, Anyway?

How can we question what we have been handed down as our historical inheritance? How can we reclaim and reimagine the stories we are told and critically reevaluate who has the power to tell them? 

Taking inspiration from the book The Archive of Memory - Reflections on 70 Years of Independence - curated by the late Malathi De Alwis and Hasini Haputhanthri with photography by Sharni Jayawardena. 70 objects and corresponding narrative fragments present history as a living thing, a personal experience, to be passed on to the generations after. History, as lived by real people, appears simple on the surface, but is alive and complex, often times telling a tale that is morally ambiguous, murky, and difficult to explain. The book is a ground on which the diverse group of performers can converge, as it cuts across the barriers of language, age, gender, class, and ideology. It is a springboard to dive into their own memories and inheritances.

The process of creation is a rehearsal of radical acceptance, of being together in a way that welcomes disagreement and difference. It is a critical reflection of our collective history, to allow us the possibility to shift how we experience our present. Whose History is it, Anyway? is a resonance of this encounter and a collective ritual of hope. 

Concept and choreography by Venuri Perera. Co-Creation and performance by Pathum Dharmarathna, Hasanthi Niriella, Kanchana Malshani, S. Priyasaravanan, T. Mathisaliny, Chathu Sri Wijayanarayana, Daham Anurada, Sathurshan Kannan, Indika Lakmal, Bhagya Virajini, Shashika Madhushan, Stefan Tirimanne.

Sound design by Isuru Kumarasinghe. Lighting by Jayampathy Guruge. Dramaturgy by Sara Mikolai. Production coordination by Namal Bandara. External advice by Imaad Majeed, Tehani Chitty, Sandev Handy, Ruhanie Perera, Chathuri Nissansala, Namal Jayasinghe, and Sumudu Manelanga. Special thanks to Dayani Abeysekera, Indrakanthi Perera, and anonymous allies.

The performance is commissioned by the Prince Claus Fund.

In memory of Malathi De Alwis. 


This event is part of the Prince Claus Fund Biennial Symposium 2023's public programme and takes place on 3 December, 18:00-20:00 (UTC+5:30) at Kamatha Arena, BMICH in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The programme is developed in collaboration with Geoffrey Bawa Trust.