Tripin 2017 - 2018 - page 90

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Colombo
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY ABDUL HALIK AZEEZ
Colombo is the political nerve center and economic hub of
Sri Lanka. It is a multicultural city with inhabitants from
all walks of life hailing from the island’s various ethnicities
and cultures. Due to its centrality, it has also been home to
political, economic and socio-cultural struggle.
Inthepost-warcontext,aneconomicboomhascontributed
to migration into Colombo, which as part of the Western
Province contributes roughly half of the country’s GDP.
Measures were taken to gentrify and beautify spaces
within the city in hand with a political project focused on
making Colombo a “seductive landscape” for big capital;
often with serious consequences for long entrenched
populations who have lived within it for years.
Colombo is now changing at a rapid pace. Plush apartment
complexes and new shopping malls catering to both local
and global elites stand side by side next to neighborhoods,
streets and markets which have stood unchanged for
generations, made static by security concerns brought on
by the country’s decades long civil war. Its change mirrors
its wealth disparity. Colombo is a mix of the modern
and the anachronistic, the rich and the poor, and its
amalgamation of traditional cultures and ways of life are
being influenced by a distinct consumerist touch.
In this series I have attempted to explore Colombo through
iconographic material that highlight its throwbacks to a
static past. I have looked at what I see as micro signifiers
that represent the broader aspects of the social, geographic
and political landscape of the city.
Abdul Halik Azeez is a journalist and
economist currently studying linguistics at the
University of Granada, Spain. As a street and
documentary photographer he has exhibited
both in Sri Lanka and internationally. More
of his work can be found on his instagram
account (@colombedouin) and at the Saskia
Fernando Gallery, Colombo.
Unsticking From Time
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