Often it is mentioned that Colombo is not the heart of relevance. That we are a city of imitators and late adopters, riding waves on the cusp of their cease.
I always felt that whatever this city may lack, it made up for in promise.
Colombo is Hydrogen left unattended to explode. The promise of this city’s people can barely be contained. Here is a city brimming with intricacies that will write itself into the legacies of tomorrow.
But, for now Colombo is waiting on a spark.
In its current context, what the promise of Colombo most direly needs are catalysts. Catalysts of change and transition. Cinnamon Colomboscope 2015 will consist of a talks and literature segment appropriately titled ‘The City. Identity. Urbanity.’ The literature of Colombo has seen movement in recent years. The exploration of the city and its urban identity through the convex of literature is now certainly an apt task.
The writers, poets and artists need a voice to call their own and that voice needs strength. Strength of numbers and strength of surety. Numbers and surety that widely accepted platforms in the calibre of Colomboscope are able to provide.
The idea of taking up writing or any medium of art as a career is to date discouraged. Even when the Ashok Ferrys, Karen Roberts and Shehan Karunatilakas, among hosts of others have made their mark in the regional and global communities.
This isn’t surprising. Colombo and Sri Lanka as a whole has lived in fear for decades. It’s almost as if fear and mistrust are our primary modes of living. Time will cure those wounds and from those scars will the greatest tales of our generation be spun and woven.
Till then, we must nurture and encourage, and shine light in dark corners, where the next Graetian winner may be waving down the roadside tuk-tuk or hopping the typically late salmon-packed bus.
Only by walking the path often walked can anyone find the right direction and leave their own footprints in the side-tracks. The criticality of mentorship and communal learning can be addressed best by platforms such as the Cinnamon Colomboscope, so kudos to the organizers and the very many industry veterans both Sri Lankan and foreign for signing up to empower the city’s voices.
Our story is worth being told in crowded theatres and sold out stadiums. Our past, present and future is a deserving muse for any masterpiece. As a people, we have tested and overcome adversity, as a nation we have tasted victory and defeat. There isn’t a reason that as a country, we shouldn’t speak up, as loud as we should for our story to be heard.
Make time and clear your schedules, head over to the Cinnamon Colomboscope and enrich your artistic spirit and intellect. With any luck, you’ll witness first-hand the spark that ignites Colombo’s Hydrogen, with any more luck, you just might be that igniting molecule.
Written By: Dilshan Senaratne