Artistes for Democracy: The danger of missing the wood

7 April 2015 04:20 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

 “Artistes for Democracy” held their first post-election press conference at Solis Hall, Beddegana, on Tuesday. The threat of state-sponsored goon violence which marked their pre-election gathering at the same venue was happily absent. Though many of the younger artistes present then were absent this time, or took a back seat, convener and film maker Bennet Ratnayake noted that the impulse which led to the formation of this cultural watchdog against political corruption and anti-democratic forces was very much alive. Vimukthi Jayasundara, Deepani Silva, Harsha Makalanda, Inoka Sathyangani, Ravindra Wijewardane, Wasantha Moragoda and Anurdha Jayasinghe voiced their views.

 As proof of the group’s dedication, an ambitious manifesto was presented. The first page is dedicated to good governance and political ethics, with reforms in art coming in as secondary issues. This tacitly acknowledges the fact that politics dominate Sri Lankan culture, including the arts, to an overwhelming degree. The problem is that these artistes so focused on reforming politicians and the political system that they risk losing sight of some key problems plaguing our arts.

 

On paper, their programme for conserving and developing the arts looks impressive. It includes a national policy for Sri Lankan cinema, modernising our cinema halls, reducing the pressure of advertising on television programmes, training centres and facilities for the theatre, a monthly programme of poetry/book readings, lectures, film screenings, musical evenings and discussions, artistic programmes for orphans and abused children, peaceful social protests regarding socio-political crises....
 



  On paper, their programme for conserving and developing the arts looks impressive. It includes a national policy for Sri Lankan cinema, modernising our cinema halls, reducing the pressure of advertising on television programmes, training centres and facilities for the theatre, a monthly programme of poetry/book readings, lectures, film screenings, musical evenings and discussions, artistic programmes for orphans and abused children, peaceful social protests regarding socio-political crises and environmental issues, including the human-elephant clash.

It would be magnificent if only half of these goals can be achieved. One can understand the level of enthusiasm since a window of opportunity not seen in two decades has opened with recent political change. But there is a danger of missing the wood for the trees.

Changing our archaic censorship laws should be a top priority on this ambitious and idealistic agenda. Changing the Constitution and pruning the President’s Powers will not automatically result in more enlightened censorship. An increasingly vocal grievance in 1950s and 60s West Germany was that many ex-Nazis were still in key administrative positions despite the government being democratic. 

We have many cultural Nazis in key decision making places, stifling artistic creativity. But ‘Artistes for Democracy’ are so focused on change at the top that they risk missing the wood for the trees, and the changes they plan to bring in could end up being cosmetic rather than fundamental, revolutionary and far-reaching.   
 
See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

  Comments - 0

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

 

Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment




“I don’t think Sri Lankans can be realistically ruled by force” -Ahimsa Wickrematunge

Twelve years after the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge, the founding

Decisions to be made in Sri Lanka’s hunt for the COVID-19 Vaccine

Around the world, governments are gearing up to roll out nationwide immunizat

“I am the Godfather of Russian tourists” - Udayanga Weeratunga

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga is back in the sce

Sri Lankan migrant workers still in limbo

Sri Lanka’s migrant workers are a significant part of our economy, with the

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.