SOAS University of London

Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London

Sacred London

Sacrificial Fire in Kali Temple

Date: 18 January 2013Time: 10:30 AM

Finishes: 23 March 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Exhibition Rooms

Type of Event: Exhibition

A portrait of a Tamil Community in North London photographs by Chiara Contrino

Chiara Contrino has worked closely with the Hindu Sri Lankan Tamil communities in North London since 2006 to produce an exhibition that documents aspects of their culture and religious rituals, and to explore their significance for the participants.

According to an old Tamil proverb, there cannot be a place called home without a Temple. Wherever in the world a Tamil community establishes itself, statues of the Gods will follow the émigrés in a similar journey from the homeland and will be installed in a Temple as a permanent residence, through complex ritual ceremonies. There are 35 of these Temples in Greater London.

One third of Sri Lankan Tamils now live outside of Sri Lanka and the communities here in the U.K. began with significant numbers arriving as labour migrants in the 1940s. These were joined by students coming to the UK for education in the 1970s, and by refugees fleeing the Sri Lankan Civil War up to present day. With around 200,000 resident Sri Lankan Tamils in the U.K. the majority of these live in London.

Chiara Contrino is a freelance Italian photographer, based in Tottenham, London. This exhibition is part of a personal long-term project working with the communities and residents of Walthamstow.

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