Nimanthi RajasinghamNimanthi Rajasingham to Present: Cartographies of Loss: International Tourism, Postwar Neoliberalism and the Vital Art of Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan

On Tuesday, February 27, the South Asia Center has the fortune of hosting of Professor Rajasingham, an assistant professor from Colgate University.

An investigation of the tourist industry in erstwhile war-torn regions on the north and east of Sri Lanka reveals the contours of postwar neoliberalism and its continued exacerbation of ethno-nationalism and conflict through the collaboration of a corporate-state-military nexus. This presentation will read the industry’s images, texts, and built environments against the grain to unearth the dispossession it creates but wants to ignore. In the second part of Professor Rajasingham’s presentation, she will explore the work of Jaffna-based Tamil artist Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan’s work, especially the collection, The Incomplete Thombu (2011), as counterpoints to the industry’s commodification of nature and people for profit. His work, she argue infuses a vitality to objects, transforming them into things so they signify beyond exchange value. By focusing on land, animals, nature and objects people left behind or carried as they fled violence, he repurposes these disposable but not forgotten things and returns them to a new materiality to create new forms of community.

This lecture will take place in 341 Eggers Hall at 12:30 pm. Please join us!