Other Map Series, 2016
Archival digital print, acrylic, ink, pencil on paper and canvas (20 pieces)
Collection of the Artist
Singapore Biennale 2016 commission
Cartography is an act of history-making; history is created and interpreted by the act of mapping. Is it possible for an artist to look beyond officially constructed maps, and imagine a different past or an alternate future? Pothupitiye attempts to do so in this series, where he re-crafts the official version of maps to tell a different story. The maps he constructs are like palimpsests where he overlays, juxtaposes and transforms portraits of voyages, landscapes, mythical figures and other maps to re-inscribe stories of Sri Lanka’s past and present, interspersed with his own personal history. The maps he refers to range from Ptolemy’s maps of Ceylon to current maps of Sri Lanka. His atlas of maps tells many different stories simultaneously: of the deep scars of colonialism, the civil unrest and religious extremism of recent years, and also the lyrical beauty of a country that was once called Ceylon.