Resonance of the Massacre 1818-2018: Art Exhibition depicting Colonial Crimes of Portuguese, Dutch & British – November, 25,26,27
Posted on November 19th, 2017

Shenali D Waduge

 History cannot be kept hostage by lies or kept hidden because it exposes the perpetrators many whom project themselves as human rights angels expecting us to forgive and forget the crimes they committed as policy during 500 years of colonial rule. To depict the suffering inflicted by these foreign invaders upon our people 20 canvas paintings will be on public display at the Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Hall from November 25-27th 2017 from 0900a.m. to 0730p.m. All parents & children are specially requested to attend and view the paintings that are accompanied by a historical summary to prove authenticity of the events that occurred.

When foreigners landed, inspired by their rulers entitling them to declare all non-Christian lands as Christian and engage in commerce and conversion of inhabitants of every country they stepped ashore in, our island became one of the many victims of colonial rule. Our people never expected the white colored men in unusual clothes to be cruel with murderous intent. The friendly smiles of welcome were returned with fire & fury until they took possession of the entire island and began dividing the people to their advantage and taught our people to be at loggerheads with each other, planting evil thoughts and evil motives. We are yet to recover from the seeds of hate and anger that colonial rulers planted to facilitate their rule. These problems have become unsolvable as these very colonial countries deem it their right to again interfere into our internal affairs in more sophisticated methods than what was adopted during colonial rule.

The art exhibition encapsulates some of the most horrific incidents by these 3 invading foreign occupiers. Accepting the white man’s word and the assurances given proved how naïve the natives were and the first attempt of the natives to win back their country from foreign rule was in 1817-1818. The struggle to regain the nation that was betrayed to the British in 1815 began in 1816 itself after realizing that the British had not honored the promises pledged in the Kandyan Convention. The response by the British was gruesome. Led by Governor Robert Brownrigg and applying the ‘Scorched Earth Policy’ orders were given to not even spare babies or nursing mothers. The specific orders were to destroy livelihood, homes, cattle & set fire to everything and kill anything moving. It is believed that some 10,000 Sinhalese were brutally murdered. The murders earned Brownrigg the name ‘Butcher of Uva-Wellassa’. The entire country-side became a lake of blood and no one was left to mourn or even count the dead.

In 2018 it will be 200 years since that brutal genocide one of many others that have gone unaccounted because the perpetrators are the one’s who have drafted present international laws making themselves immune from accountability hiding behind laws that they created for their own advantage. The injustices that Sinhalese suffered have thus gone ignored, unnoticed and unaccounted. But the very nations that are guilty of genocide as a policy today proudly preach accountability and justice. Do they have a moral right to do so? We think not. Yet how many of us know of these facts? When a country’s history is being removed from school syllabus it is denying the future generation the right to know the history of their birth nation. Simply because the bloodied past is an embarrassment to those that committed the act and to those that worship the perpetrators, it should not deny the facts from being known by all.

Resonance of the Massacre 1818-2018” is an art exhibition that will depict in 20 canvass paintings the cries of thousands of majority Sinhalese, native Tamils & Muslims who were assassinated brutally during colonial rule. The sorrow is something that all citizens shared.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words and the art exhibition organized by Sinhala Sangedama (Sinhalese Struggle) has attempted to do what no organization has by bringing to picture form the brutal acts of the 3 colonial rulers.

It is to commemorate how the colonial rulers ruled over local gluttonous Sinhala chiefs, and how Tamil & Muslim minorities exploited to weaken ancient Sinhale nation (present Sri Lanka). We must never forget that we are still trapped in the conspiratorial political reticulations of colonial jurisdication instead of fighting against or among us, ignoring the rea foe” says Dr. Chamila Liyanage, convenor of the Sinhala Sangedama and chief organizer of the exhibition. 

The paintings will be accompanied by a historical summary citing sources to confirm authenticity.

What is poignant about the exhibition is that it is coming at a time when the very perpetrators are screaming accountability for crimes in Geneva & among diplomatic circles. Why are the crimes of these colonial rulers never investigated and asked to compensate for the war crimes, plunder and genocide?

The exhibition is open to the public from 25th, 26th & 27th November, 2017 at the Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Mandira (Level 3) from 0900a.m. to 0730p.m. Entrance Free. The organizers are planning to take the exhibition to other parts of the island too.

The organizers will be inviting Members of the Government, Opposition, Diplomatic Community, UN & associate bodies, Schools & Universities, researchers & media too.

Parents are asked to accompany their children and view the exhibition and read the background of each painting to realize what our ancestors had gone through under colonial rule for over 440 years.

Shenali D Waduge

5 Responses to “Resonance of the Massacre 1818-2018: Art Exhibition depicting Colonial Crimes of Portuguese, Dutch & British – November, 25,26,27”

  1. Christie Says:

    With great respect to the artists, organizers and promoters I would like to raise a simple question. Were there any Africans involved with the British?
    What I have read and learned have been that it was Indian Sepoys who were part of the British. British never took Africans as Sepoys. They came from Madras Regiment and may have had their faces painted black to frighten the Sinhalese. Most of these Sepoys settled in Jaffna and it is their decedents who want to control us today.

  2. Cerberus Says:

    Thank you Shenali for highlighting this exhibition. All patriots should attend this exhibition and support it. We should also have an exhibition of the crimes and atrocities committed by the LTTE so that the world can see what the LTTE supported by the Tamil Diaspora and the TNA did to Sinhalese, Muslims and the innocent Tamils who did not join with them.
    The agents of the West who have been installed as our leaders even though the people did not want these traitors should go and visit this exhibition and look at what their current masters did to our brothers and sisters many years ago. Please read the story below of how the Bengal Famine was engineered by the British.

    The Bengal Famine: How the British engineered the worst genocide in human history for profit –

  3. Hiranthe Says:

    Thank you Shenali for letting us know.

    This is great work thought we should have done it before. However at a time where US are blamed on violation of human rights in Afganistan, This is a good time.

    I have the same question as Christie with the British. It must have some background to be more legitimate.

    We can add one or two art works showing the invader’s forced recruitment to Christianity and also introducing liquor to the just society to destroy the Buddhist values aiming to destroy a nation.

    Once this is done internally, we should organise this exhibition in the UN headquarters soon, before the next UNHCR session.

    If we can add a caption at the bottom of each painting in English, for example “Destrying and looting Dambulla Rajamaha Vihara Temple AD 1818” or something like that, it will add more legitimacy to the painting. Then it will become a representation of the History, not just some imaginary artwork by a painter.

    Good work.. Keep it up and protect Mother Lanka.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Thanks Shenali!

    I will be taking my entire family to this exhibition, especially my tribe of adopted children!

    This should be made part of a PERMANENT EXHIBITION dedicated to sustaining and fostering PATRIOTISM among our Sinhala Buddhist people!

    FORGIVE, but NEVER FORGET, the CRIMES of the Colonial INVADERS lest we allow such DEPRADATIONs to be inflicted again with IMPUNITY upon our people!

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Well stated, Ananda – we agree with you !
    Good to hear from you.
    We wish you good luck with your good work with orphans.


    Almost all the Buddhist countries in the world were Colonised.
    Have Colonised countries ever quite recovered ?
    Lanka was Colonised for nearly 500 yrs and the injuries are still there ….

    Put the pluses & the minuses on a ‘Colonial Occupation balance sheet’ and see for yourself the results – the some good, the bad, and the ugly and the very ugly.

    Just what will this Yahap new Constitution do to Lanka – split Lanka and neo-Colonise the Country through large scale LAND SALES to foreigners, plus give away the Shipping rights too ?

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