Mobile exhibition on history of Sri Lanka from 13th century to post independence titled ලක් ඉතිහාසයට කවුළුවක් is organized by the Department of History at University of Colombo in collaboration with the GIZ, Colombo Office, Sri Lanka. The aim of the exhibition is to provide a historical explanation about the evolution of modern Sri Lanka. This explanation is essential for us to understand the challenges faced by modern Sri Lanka. This explanation is also important as most of the prevailing and popular versions of historical explanations failed to address adequately some important facets of the historicity of modern Sri Lanka.
Further, this exhibition emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary focus in historical analysis by adopting various tools from disciplines such as geography, cartography, anthropology, demography, economics and linguistics. Historical interpretations that have been presented in this work, however, do not provide any definitive conclusions about the past, they are essentially hypotheses that need further exploration. Below are some of the main themes that are covered in this exhibition:
- The importance of the historical break in the 13th century where major centres of population in the island prior to 13th century gradually disappeared and new centres of population emerged, as a result of which the present day North-South dichotomy was historically formed.
- Multiplicity of major historical forces at work, which were contributed to the evolution of two historical social formations in the post 13th century period.
- The ways in which social, political and cultural interactions in the larger Indian Ocean world shaped historical trajectories of the post 13th century period.
- Complex and multifaceted history of the colonial domination of European powers.
- Formation of modern social formations in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Mobile museum titled ‘Archive of Memory’ ^මතක සංචිතය& is an attempt to compile a people’s history of post-independence Sri Lanka. Moving away from political milestones and historical events, the Archive of Memory focuses on the lives and experiences of ordinary Sri Lankans. The main tool of compiling this history is through a specific object, be it a very mundane item such as a teacup or an antique killota. This is because human memory is kept alive through objects. In other words, objects help us remember. Mobile museum is an initiative of the GIZ, Colombo Office to mark the 70 years of Independence in 2018 and it has already travelled around the country.