Moving Out Sri Lanka concluded its 10 day programme with performances by Scotland’s Alex Rigg and Germany’s Frank Bölter, the Italian comic Adrian Schvarzstein, the Danish dancer Kitt Johnson, a film by Elisabeth Wilding from Austria and a spectacular display of traditional dance from the students and lecturers of the University of Visual and Performing Arts Colombo – the projects artistic partners. The programme has as promised presented performances on the beach, the streets, the villages, the markets, the jungle, the clubs and at the sea. It reached thousands of the public from every walk of life from rural fishing villages to city urbanites and bemused and delighted in equal measure. The delight of the artists in collaborating together, once they had developed their own work, was evident in impromptu guerrilla performances and the comic film created – soon to be released on Vimeo.
The programme was created by UZ Arts and developed through residencies at the Sura Medura Centre in Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka, with funds from Insitu, the Goethe Institue, the British Council and local business sponsors. The programme was further enhanced through the participation of fishing families in Dondaduwa, surfers and fishermen in Hikkaduwa and Colombo and the addition of Texan virtuoso guitarist Rodney Brannigan, Jurate Syrvite from Lithuania, Roger Ely from England, DJ Sunara and the performers of UVPA Colombo. In all there were 78 performers and over 154 participants.
“I would say it has provided an intense, uneasy, alarming, charming, edgy, humbling, annoying, astonishing, provoking, friendly, dangerous, challenging, contrasting, confusing and edifying experience in both artistic and personal terms. It has been an overwhelming experience and not at all easy. The work that I have made as a result is helping me to move in a new direction with my thinking and I am keen to continue the process.” – Alex Rigg, Scotland
“It was a pleasure for me to find several magic moments working with my colleagues, working with artists, whose main expressions and languages is being in the present. What I found are the fresh aspects of real-time, which influenced my thinking, and changed already my approaches of my ongoing work.” – Elisabeth Wilding, Austria
“The residency in Sura Medura house was perfect, the room and all the space available was exactly what we needed. A great variation of experiences and tastes was the result of sharing our creativity and imagination and to adapt ourselves to any possible situation.” – Adrian Schvarzstein, Italy
“First and foremost it was a very very fruitful experience. The work in the village and the whole encounter with the beautiful people there was extremely giving both on an artistic as well as on a personal level. Artistically I was challenged by the cultural barrier, both in terms of the understanding of what art can be, the lack of a ‘modernism’ in terms of art, as well as just the basic difference between Danish and Sri Lankan reality. It forced me to approach the project completely differently, I think more culture specific than ever, I was very happy with the result.” – Kitt Johnson, Denmark
“Thank you for this unforgettable dream in Hikkaduwa and Colombo. Joining the artists’ group was fantastic.” – Frank Bölter, Germany
“The Sura Medura residency programme provides unique experiences for adventurous artists that can have a profound positive impact upon their practise. The Moving Out Sri Lanka Festival also showed how the work created can respond to and be of blue to that artistic and wider community.” – Neil Butler, Artistic Director UZ Arts.