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KANNAN ARUNASALAM

Press release: “The Tent (2017) marks his first commission specifically for a contemporary art context”, The Creative Tourist, 4 March 2019

“British-Sri Lankan documentary filmmaker and human rights lawyer, Kannan Arunasalam’s work focuses on stories from Asia and has appeared in The Guardian, Al Jazeera Witness and The New Yorker, having returned to live and work in his place of birth. ‘The Tent’ (2017), however, marks his first commission specifically for a contemporary art context, while the film’s accompanying exhibition at The Tetley in Leeds represents his first solo-show in the UK. The dual-screen installation not only highlights the mixture of loss, grief and hope that characterises their stories, but also juxtaposes the day-to-day reality of life inside the camp with footage from the large crowds and media attention it drew on the 500-day-anniversary of consecutive protest. A lack of consistent news coverage seems unsurprising in Sri Lanka, where the mainstream local media is either state-owned or disinclined to report on anything that presents the country in a negative light. Yet it is also reflective of the wider way in which important stories and issues are allowed to slowly drift from public consciousness as reporting outlets constantly race to whatever’s ‘just breaking’ in a bid to keep our attention.” Kannan Arunasalam: The Tent at The Tetley, Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor, The Creative Tourist, 4 March 2019

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