House of Kal Colombo

20/10/2021 — 26/10/2021

Design: Aziza Ahmad / Archive Books

Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody, Chathuri Nissansala, Sabeen Omar, Vasi Samudra Devi, Vicky Shahjehan, Hema Shironi Joseph, The Many Headed Hydra, Vasi Udarawane, Emma Wolf Haugh

House of Kal Colombo is a stream of a language where yesterday and tomorrow are the same word. kal

co-curated by Sandev Handy, Sakina Aliakbar and our many guests & friends from the House of Kal.

Collective of Contemporary Artists
33 Gothami Road, Colombo 8

* * * Residents * * *

Vicky Shahjahan (she/her)

Vicky is a Queer activist and an local artist coming from Colombo’s Slave Island neighborhood. Vicky’s work is mostly focused on feminism, freedom, gender-rights and marginalised communities. Vicky is quite known for henna artwork, using henna to express challenging and diverse stories of women and LGBTQ community. She is engaged in the performance art scene as an interpretive dancer. She has been a collaborator with The Many Headed Hydra collective for the 2019 edition of Colomboscope and the exhibition Is It Possible To Live Outside of Language? curated by Aziz Sohail at Indus Valley Gallery in Karachi.

Chathuri Nissansala (she/her)

Chathuri (b. 1993) acquired a Bachelor in Fine Arts (painting) from Chitra Kala Parishath, Bengaluru (2017) and a Master in visual Arts (painting) from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara Gujarat, India (2019). She is a multidisciplinary artist working with performance art, painting, sculpture and print. Her works raise poignant questions about notions of gender, class and nationalism in Sri Lanka.

Sabeen Omar (she/her)

Sabeen is an artist based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She is deeply inspired by textiles and it is a motif that recurs often in her work. Her current body of work is a series of drawings, scrapings and cuttings on found boxes and wrappers.

Vasi Udarawane (she/her)

Vasi is a transgender woman/non-binary femme-presenting person with a love of poetry, performance, working in many intermingled styles and artistic traditions, from surreal and contemporary storytelling to natural history and paleontography. She is currently after a BA in humanities and English from the university of Peradeniya, and works as a freelance illustrator and artist.

Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody (she/her)

Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody is an Ensemble-Based Physical Theater Devising Artist, Actor-Creato, Educator, Dancer, Choreographer, Mask player and a Clown who has been worked in theatre and film since 2009 as well as created her original work. She has worked in her productions in Sri Lanka, the United States and India.

Hema Shironi

Hema Shironi, Visual Artist, Born in 1991, Completed BFA from Ramanathan fine arts academy, Jaffna and MA in Art and Design from Beacon House National University in Pakistan. “My practice involves intricate embroideries that engage with the formation, preparation, and experience of identity.”

* * * Gatherings and conversations* * *

To make our gatherings as safe as possible amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we kindly ask everyone to join with a mask. Food will only be served outside in the courtyard.


20 October, 5 pm

House of kal Colombo Opening with resident works on display, on-going activities and refreshments.

Nesting, Burrowing and Holding — Conversation with Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody

21 October, 7-8 pm, online, register here

A conversation between five theatre practitioners on survival, care and space making during a pandemic. Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody asks what it means to re-think the family, co-living and creating safe spaces that challenge patriarchal structures and accepted masculinities.

Porrutkal/ nineiwugal/ oorawugal/ inneipugal by Vicky Shahjehan

22 October, 6-7 pm — NARRATIVE CIRCLE, Invitation through registration only

How can one collect and make archaic memory tangible? Through a circle of narrations, Vicky invites you to tease out the memories, presences and identities embedded within a collection of objects/materials. Can the stories of objects and the circumstances of their existence simultaneously become stories of intimacy and interconnectivity?
Porrutkal/ nineiwugal/ oorawugal/ inneipugal is a meditation on memory and shared remembrance of healing. It is imagined as a series of interactive sessions that welcomes participants into a shared space of “Embracing and embodying your special self”.

What Kinda Trans Am I? — Animated Film by Vasi Samudra Devi and Keshiya Rayla Kaavyashri

22 October, 7.15-8.15 pm — SCREENING AND DISCUSSION
25 October, 6-7 pm — ONLINE SCREENING

Vasi and Keshiya discuss their animated film “What Kinda Trans Am I?” developed for Transfigure Lanka’s Trans/Queer Collaborations. A short animated film co-created by Keshiya Rayla Kaavyashri and Vasi Samudra Devi, two trans/non-binary artists under the idea of trans and queer liberation during the medical transition process which they are both undergoing simultaneously. The work is a call for self-determination of gender-diverse identities by both artists. The film is a look at the cis-heteronormative boxes into which trans people starting out on their HRT journeys are put under, from a cishet therapist having to evaluate them to tell them again that they are trans.

Ritual of Changing Appearances by Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody

23 October, 7-8 pm, invitation through registration only

Veena invites you to participate in a lighting ritual for meditations on the body and change.  Light the candles over plaster Paris body casts meditate over the changes happing to the candles and the body cast.


House of Kal Colombo Open House Closing

26 October, 6-8.30 pm

With resident works on display, on-going activities and refreshments.
— Re-activation of Ritual of Changing Appearances
— Selected readings from Hold Everything Dear  Reading Group


* * *Performances* * *

Birth by Vicky Shahjehan, Chathuri Nissansala, Shiromi Subasinghe & R. Rasamma 

20 October, 7-8 pm, invitation through registration only, register here

This performance recontextualizes how text constructs identity, matriarchy understandings of ‘healing’. Introducing mark-making within an intimate space, Birth is a ritual for unlearning the imperial sediments of the past and the present, necessary for imagining new futures.

proper sounds, improper sounds by Sakina Aliakbar/Sak’d

20 October, 8-9:30 pm + 24 October, 7.30-9.30 pm, invitation through registration only, register here

Buiding on the queer and feminist practices of worldbuilding, Sakina explores possibilities through sound and movement in non-binary and genre-mixing methods. The performance provides a safe space for one’s internal and external world on a dance floor.

இந்த நிலம் எனக்கு சொந்தமில்லை அம்மா (Mother this land is not ours) by Chathuri Nissansala

23 October, 5-7 pm and 24 October, 11 am-1 pm– invitation through registration only, register here

The act of “play ” resides within civilizations, cultures and also within archives. This interactive performance invites attendees to “play” and masquerade by becoming performers or taking on various personas. The performance interrogates various scenarios of imperial identity, remembrance, memorialization and nationalism by interplaying a series of cultural conundrums. Each scenario explores how one symbolically encounters the act of ‘forgetful remembrance’.

Artificial Women by Vasi Samudra Devi

24 October, 6.30-7.30 pm, Invitation through registration only

A lecture performance based on the real-life experiences by Vasi Samudra Devi and her interactions with the Sri Lankan trans community and the internalization of cishet language in constructing transness and queerness. The poem asks what truly constructs trans femininity, with the idea of artificiality (that being a mockery of the expression of trans identities and especially medical gender transition processes) and the focus on a gender binary being pushed onto gender diverse people through a very cisgender, heteronormative social lens. Vasi is in the end, happy to admit that she is artificial in the context that everything really is so, furthermore celebrating her HRT process in video form.

* * *Workshops* * *

Talking Hands Circle, with works and offerings by Sabeen Omar and Hema Shironi

24 October, 3-5 pm  — STITCHING CIRCLE

Hema and Sabeen have been talking, sharing stories and making work. They have an affinity for fabric which is closely tied to the history of the women in their families. In their collaboration, Talking Hands, both artists used a collection of cloth handkerchiefs as a medium to express fragments of their memories. Together, they have and will continue to create a body of work that creates a complex space for memory stories and the potential for craft in art. Hema and Sabeen will continue to work in the open studios and invite you to sit with them, share and sew.

Hold Everything Dear: Reading Group with Sabeen Omar and Sandev Handy

26 October, 6-8.30 pm — READING GROUP (ONLINE )

In his book Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance John Berger gets to the heart of things. In a collection of disarmingly poetic essays, he is able to give the political, a very personal context – creating a pathway for one to enter and engage. Sandev and Sabeen have chosen 3 essays from the collection that they would love to delve into with you. What does each of our survival and resistance look like when the night takes our plans away? With Berger’s words as a foundation, they would like to create space to hear your thoughts and feelings.


پیار، مزاحمت، خیال
a co-created shared space bringing together works by the House of Kal Colombo residents, The Many Headed Hydra’s “Rituals” soft architecture by Emma Wolf Haugh, and offerings from the kal RITUALS publications as well as traces of drawing and writing workshops, field visits and invited guests and friends, 21-24 and 26 October, open from 2-8.30 pm

Collective of Contemporary Artists, 33 Gothami Road, Colombo 8

It is inherently queer and feminist to flatten heirarchy and democratise a space. Since this May, we have been offering collective care, staying with the mundane and the present, rupturing and repairing, un-making, re-considering, and thieving. We welcome you to climb down into our space and meet us where we are.


a language where yesterday and tomorrow are the same word. Kal.

A trans*oceanic platform for slow approaches, performative interventions and poetic strategies in visual and literary forms, a language where yesterday and tomorrow are the same word. Kal traces decolonial and feminist futures and pasts that are connected through bodies of water lapping at different shorelines.

Gathering artists and writers from South Asia, the South Asian diaspora and post-/migrant Europe, kal unfolds in multiple strands including a DIY radio channel called radio kal, the three Houses of Kal – a constellation of feminist infrastructures for transdiciplinary and collaborative art practices & alternative pedagogies in Karachi, Colombo and Berlin –  and a series of publications.

The title takes inspiration from Fatimah Asghar’s poetic invocation of the Hindi-Urdu word کل  [kəl̪]. Expressing a time beyond the here and now, the meaning of ‘kal’ moves fluidly and shifts its meaning based on who speaks, from where and when.

As kal unfolds in extended pandemic time, amidst deep ecological and social transformations, Thinking of the body as a site of memory and of speculation. kal looks towards forgotten and imagined ways of living and dying together on earth that disrupt binary contours of time or being. kal unfolds in trans*territorial alliances and queer world building in extended pandemic time, amidst deep ecological and social transformations. The fabulation and embodiment of ancient and futurist ecologies/cultures are an expression of anti-racist, anti-fascist resistance and joy.

a language where yesterday and tomorrow are the same word. kal is co-initiated by Aziz Sohail and The Many Headed Hydra. The Houses of Kal are curated and cared for collectively by Aziz Sohail, Fiza Khatri, Sandev Handy, The Many Headed Hydra with Sakina Aliakbar, Zahabia Khozema and the teams of District*School Without Center and Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture.

This trans*oceanic platform is a collaboration with Archive Books, COCA Collective Colombo, District*School Without Center, Goethe Institut Sri Lanka, Goethe Institut Pakistan, IVS Gallery Karachi, Zubaan Books and Colomboscope; supported by the Department for Culture and Europe in the Berlin Senate, Goethe Institut South Asia, the Swiss Arts Council, Pro Helvetia, and ifa.

Team House of Kal Colombo: Chathuri Nissansala, Vicky Shahjehan, Vasi Samudra Devi, Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody, Hema Shironi Joseph & Sabeen Omar with curators Sandev Handy and Sakina Aliakbar.

House of Kal Karachi unfolds in trans*oceanic correspondences and collaboration with the Houses of Kal Berlin and Karachi. Each of these spaces bring together art practitioners whose work explores feminist, anti racist, anti fascist and queer possibility.