Wooden Documentary Trophy

My family originates from Sri Lanka, a tropical island country that is dutifully coined “the teardrop of India”. This ordinate statue represents my late paternal grandfather’s documentarist works. Throughout the majority of his life, my grandfather recorded video of the predominately arborous landscape of the rural city of Paradenia. These recordings were a means of capturing time, freezing it, and setting it aside for consumption by his descendants. Immigration and the assimilation that follows shortly after is an arduous process. In assimilating to another culture, to the extent of adopting another lifestyle, an individual’s traditional makeup is progressively lost. Once my family emigrated to urban New York City in the beginning of the century, our environment shifted from that of the tropical to that of the concrete; both beautiful in their own regards, but intolerant of one other. Capturing these two scenes within one location became an impossibility. This trophy serves as the sole means to link both the memories of the past and the events unfolding in the present for my family. When my father was asked if the trophy reminded him of life in Sri Lanka, he responded by saying, “This trophy evokes a sense of nostalgia within me. I am instantly reminded of the green, pastoral makeup of the Sri Lankan countryside and the work of my father”. This statue, albeit small in stature, succeeds in acting as a connective tissue between the United States and Sri Lanka for my family.

Year: 1980

– Robin Kumaratunga

Relationship:  unknown unknown