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Vasuki Jeyasankar’s seminar on Activism, Art, Social Change from the Perspective of a Sri Lankan Feminist

Join the Institute for Social Justice for Vasuki Jeyasankar’s seminar on Activism, Art, Social Change from the Perspective of a Sri Lankan Feminist

When: Friday, September 30, 2-4pm
Where: Tenison Woods House, Level 16, 16B, 8-20 Napier Street, North Sydney

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Title: Activism, Art, Social Change from the Perspective of a Sri Lankan Feminist

Abstract: During this session, I will share my engagements with three generations of feminist activism in the North and East of Sri Lanka – the region that was directly affected by the three decades of civil war and the tsunami in 2004.I would attempt to articulate my knowledge and experiencesin terms of becoming a feminist activist, being influenced by people and ideologies, solidaritybuilding and initiating platforms for social change. I use the metaphor of a cobweb to illustrate two main aspects of activism and social change. On the one hand, it depicts the grips of patriarchy thatproduces multiple challenges to communities in various contexts. On the other hand,it also depicts the spaces that we create to questionsuch challenges and ways in which we find freedom.

I will cite stories from my work at the community level that captures how spaces created by feminist activism are imagined and shaped in order to challenge gendered and other forms of power relations. A few aspects covered in the stories include the impacts of development approaches, Hindu religious fundamentalism, and militarized minds.

The format of the presentation will be an interview where I will engage in a conversation with another feminist activist and scholar from Sri Lanka. She is a comrade. She and I have been part of many feminist spaces at various capacities. A power point presentation and a short video of women ‘Drumming for Justice’ will make the session colourful.

Bio: Vasuki Jeyasankar is a feminist activist and artist from the North of Sri Lanka, who has been living in the East for the past 20 years. She has been part of women’s organisations and networks, actively claiming the rights of women in conflict and tsunami affected areas of Sri Lanka. She develops strategies to encounter Violence Against Women (VAW), designs campaigns, develops and conducts trainings on gender and women’s rights for various groups of women and men. She has experience working in the region on different women’s rights issues such as addressing violence against sex workers in Bangladesh and promoting the rights of indigenous women in Nepal. As an artist she expresses the issues of women through paintings and cartoons. She has worked with UNICEF, CARE international and ActionAid in projects promoting the rights of women and children. She holds a Masters degree in human rights and democratisation from the University of Sydney.


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