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Serendip

I returned to Sri Lanka in 2004 for the first time as an adult. Born there, on a holiday, my entire life other than short vacations back in the years we lived in Nigeria and Wales in my early child hood, were spent living abroad but weirdly believing I was still Sri Lankan somehow. This illusion was shattered mercilessly in 2004, when I went back there, actually expecting to feel like a native, but discovering fresh, that to these people I was and would always be a foreigner. Realising, uncomfortably, that most likely I would be a foreigner in every country, and beginning a long and exhuasting search to try and figure out where exactly “back home” actually was.

I have a degree of animosity and anger towards this country because of its contribution towards my years of cultural confusion and also because of the gross human rights violations and injustice towards all people in that country from every ethnicity and religious background. Despite its decades in political turmoil, the Island remains a spectacularly beautiful place.

My pictures do it absolutely no justice. I used a point and shoot, no zoom camera which I bought at Colombo airport because my own camera was lost. This was unfortunate, because I was completely blown away by the natural paradise this island is. I hope one day to go back there, and take the pictures I have in my mind of this amazing place so I can remember it more clearly.

In a way it was good not to be standing there shooting images the whole trip. It allowed me to be completely in the moment and experience the country with my eyes and my heart. I saw so many beautiful pictures there. Crazy, colourful Colombo…the greenest green I have ever seen in the Tea Estates…I think I saw heaven open up before me on the south west coast, those long white sand beaches in the villages just past Galle, lined with bendy coconut palms that frame calm, turquiose waters,stretching out for miles and miles. God must be an artist.