2008

Jagath Dheerasekara
Space of Youth


The 30-year ethnic war had plagued the citizens of Sri Lanka with social divisions and great challenges. In this series, Dheerasekara chose to specifically focus on the effects of the war on the youths in Sri Lanka. He attempts to document the social phenomenon of a teen’s metamorphosis into an adult as they struggle to overcome the challenges afflicted and perpetrated by social norms. His photographs capture their individualistic characters and moments of adaptation to society’s demands across the island; from the most humble to the more affluent, the young create their own space. The length and breadth of their space and freedom are defined by the socio-economic conditions prevailing in their homes.

About the Artist
Jagath Dheerasekara is primarily a social documentary photographer and believes that as an art form photography can contribute to social change. He started photography as a human rights activist in the late 80s where state armed forces and state sponsored death squads went on a killing spree in defending an autocratic regime. He became a political refugee before the regime change made it safe to return back to settle in Colombo. Since then his works have been exhibited at various international photography exhibitions.