This project proposes to preserve endangered traditional and indigenous ritual music and dance forms, related oral expression and craftsmanship that cut across the ethnic divide in Sri Lanka, by documenting in video format. The craft component includes the creation of distinctive traditional dance ornaments, décor, costumes and drums. The living socio cultural traditions within which these practices still survive will also be documented as the essential ways of life that nurture and sustain these vanishing traditions. These videos and accompanying material will be archived under the aegis of the Arts Council of the University of Peradeniya. This archive will provide a fully accessible resource of records of the complete process and the paraphernalia involved in the ritual dances such as accompanying verses, drums and décor used for the process of making drums. For public and online reference, shorter videos will be produced with narration in English and Sinhala and will be made available on the internet with links in the University’s Arts Council and Fine Arts Department websites. The main communities and cultural practices targeted by this project are the following:
Thus, the project will have four core locations – Kandy, Matara, Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa – brought together to explore similarities and differences by the University of Peradeniya’s Department of Fine Arts, but including scholar-researchers from the across the country, who are experts in the four core areas above. The objective is to document and archive a living cultural heritage and through this process to help increase awareness and respect for this heritage which transcends individual modern ethnicity and exclusionary culture.
This project proposes to collect and document in digitized video format the varied and complementary forms of traditional ritual dance and performances along with their oral traditions, crafts and craftsmanship. The craft component includes the creation of distinctive traditional dance ornaments, décor, costumes and drums. The living socio-cultural traditions within which these practices still survive will also be documented as the essential ways of life that nurture and sustain these vanishing traditions.