The main participants in the project were the artists Sabes Sugunasabesan, Anushiya Sundaralingam, Reginald S. Aloysius, Aruntha Ratnaraj and Hari Rajaledchumy. K. K. Rajah and Ezhilojan Jeyakumar have also been part of the collaboration, but to a lesser degree. They were, for example, part of the kolam event described in the essay, but chose not to participate in the video. All were born in Jaffna, the northern region of Sri Lanka where the Tamils dominate in number, apart from Aloysius, who was born in London to parents from the same region as the others. Today, they are based in the UK. As many of them were unaware of one another’s existence, they were keen on the joint workshop I suggested during autumn 2013. The group photograph above is from that event, held at the refugee centre mentioned in the essay.
No institutional art education was available in Tamil in Sri Lanka between 1956 and 2010; therefore, Sundaralingam, Ratnaraj, and Rajah, who left the island between 1983 and 1995, took private classes in their hometown. Sundaralingam was able to study fine and applied art at the University of Ulster, Belfast, in the 1990s; Ratnaraj is connected with a local art group in High Wycombe; and Rajah has dedicated many years to the Tamil diaspora film festival Vimbam. Sugunasabesan, who left in 1974, is self-taught and affiliated with the London Independent Photography group. Rajaledchumy and Jeyakumar arrived as refugees during the last phase of the war in 2009, being fifteen and twenty years old, respectively. Rajaledchumy began his art studies at the Open School East in 2015, while Jeyakumar studies visual anthropology at Goldsmiths. Aloysius is educated in fine art and drawing at the Ruskin School, Oxford, and at Kingston University, London. As mentioned in the Introduction, rather than being chosen, the participants revealed themselves successively and conveyed the importance of a critical analysis of the marginal position and relative absence of Sri Lankan Tamil artists on a global level.