A recently published book “Mirrored Images – An Anthology of Sri Lankan Poetry” Edited by Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha was launched in Toronto at an event organized by the Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa and, the Consulate General’s Office in Toronto. The Anthology brings together the poetry of 89 poets including translations from Sinhala and Tamil together with poems written in English.
Prof. Chelva Kanaganayakam of the English Department of the University of Toronto who gave the Keynote address on the topic “Translations and the idea of Meditative Thinking” said that “In a world dominated by the discourses of globalization a book of translations forces us to reflect and meditate, and it alerts us not only to differences but also connections and intersections among communities, religions and ethnicities”. He further stated “that there are similarities and there are differences. Both are in fact important. Context shapes the way one lives. The subject matter too could be different. But the meditative dimension, the concern with belonging, and with identity and rootedness are similar”.
Referring to Rajiva Wijesinha he said that the Editor has been fair, balanced objective and thorough. As a writer and as a critic he is aware of the need to let literature speak for itself and construct worlds that readers must decode for themselves. “Mirrored Images” is a significant contribution to Sri Lanka’s multiple literary histories.
The High Commissioner Chitranganee Wagiswara in her address said that the book is a timely publication for Sri Lanka, at a time when the country is going through a transition from conflict-to peace and reconciliation. She added that Art – in this case poetry is a medium – a channel of communication that transcends borders, which the Editor Rajiva Wijesinha has elucidated and endeavours to showcase by stating that he “hopes that the volume would contribute to the development of a common Sri Lankan identity which can appreciate and celebrate difference whilst enhancing mutual understanding”.
The High Commissioner said that Sri Lankans living outside the country can make a significant contribution to overcome differences and to understand each others needs, hopes and aspirations.
Prof. Sugunasiri who is an academic, a poet, a novelist and an author spoke on “Poetic Reflections” and the depth of expression that the medium of art could communicate through poetry. He spoke of some of the nuances of Sri Lankan poetry.
The Consul General Karunarathna Paranawithana delivering the vote of thanks referred to Prof. Kanaganayakam’s keynote address, as a poem in itself. He also called upon the Sri Lankans living outside the country on the need to focus on art and culture that can overcome boundaries.
Invitees to the Book Launch included academics, journalists, Sri Lankan Community leaders from the Sinhala and Tamil and Muslim communities, business leaders and Canadian friends. The reception that followed gave an opportunity for the invitees to meet the two Professors as well as to mingle and exchange views on the subject of culture and art.