UNVEILING HUMAN CONDITIONS

Ramanathan Parilojithan

Ramanathan Parilojithan is hailed for his visual art in the form of photography that encompasses and conveys critical and erudite documentation of social, economic and environmental conditions in Sri Lanka. In portraying ethical discrepancies and environmental injustices, artist Ramanathan Parilojithan’s works are potent in their depiction, as it encapsulates deteriorating landscapes and endangered spaces. Parilojithan’s works have largely consisted of projects that are humanitarian, those of which address the plight of the human condition, especially of those living in the peripheries of cities. The artist’s critical depiction of the world is absent of rose-tinted lenses and provides unyielding depictions through his mediums of expression, which we recognize for its advocative nature.

Ramanathan Parilojithan was born in Batticaloa and pursued his BA in Fine Arts at the University of Jaffna. His work is also strongly influenced by the abundance of natural surroundings that he grew up in, of which he is deeply concerned about preserving these landscapes. Parilojithan exhibited his works during two solo exhibitions ‘Colombollage’ at Alliance Francaise de Jaffna (2019) and ‘Nostalgia’ at the Ramanathan Academy, Jaffna (2018) and had his work featured in many group exhibitions such as the Éclair Open Studio at Theertha (2020), Kochi Muziris Student Biennale (2018), Colomboscope Re/evolution (2017), Permutations and Possibilities at Theertha (2018) and many others.

Ramanathan Parilojithan’s work for the Humanity & Earth Photo Project organized by the Goethe-Institut aimed at showcasing various techniques and conceptual approaches of which participating artists explored stories that are based on ecological and sustainability related discrepancies in Sri Lanka. In this context, artist Parilojithan’s photo project narrated the story of places in his hometown that were being destroyed and contaminated by society’s avarice. “The Earth and its natural resources belong to everyone. But some people, due to their selfish needs and attitudes, misuse the environment and that in effect impacts the environment to a very large extent. My photo documentary project’s aim is to show the outside world the challenging and painstaking livelihoods of the fishing community due to the dumping of garbage and medical waste in the lagoon of Batticaloa in the areas of my research in Kattankudy, Eravur, Maatheevu and Valaiaravu” he elaborates. 

Parilojithan’s research for the Humanity & Earth Photo Project tackled the acute narratives of destructive landfill and destroying of fisheries. His photography captures landscapes of the lagoon, following the story of a fisherman and the consequence of shrewd social practices. He brings attention largely to the cities of Maantheevu and Valaiaravu where those at the Leprosy Hospital dump chemical waste and human appendages into the lagoons where fishing takes place for daily survival. Parilojithan’s works through the Humanity & Earth Photo Project are laudable in its capacity in portraying the detrimental action and inaction impacting the nation’s natural resources.

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13th December, 2020 Visual Art | Paintings

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