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Academic’s research reflected through art

22nd May 2024

Northumbria Law School academic Professor Lars Waldorf is co-curating an impactful art exhibition raising awareness of resistance to injustices in Sri Lanka.

Artful Struggles 2024: Contemporary Art from Sri Lanka runs from June 8 to July 27 this year at Gateshead Central Library as part of the Masala Festival presented by GemArts and Gateshead Arts Development Team. The exhibition is co-curated with Dr Nilanjana Premaratna, from Newcastle University, and done in partnership with Agora and Vimbam, two Sri Lankan community arts organisations in the UK.

Caption: Sujith Rathnayake, “Oppression in Isolation?” (2023).

The exhibition commemorates the second anniversary of the Aragalaya/Porattam (‘struggle’ in Sinhala and Tamil respectively) — Sri Lanka’s 2022 Occupy movement against corruption, immiseration, and impunity, which toppled a president and a prime minister before succumbing to increased repression. The exhibition shows how art can help promote a more hopeful, pluralistic, accountable, and just politics for Sri Lanka.

Professor Waldorf said: “My current research – and this exhibition – explore how art can generate and sustain hopeful resistance to injustices. While I mostly focus on Sri Lanka, this is just as relevant in the UK and elsewhere around the world where people need hope – not only to resist anger, fear, and defeatism, but also to re-imagine and re-enact a more just world.”

Artful Struggles is presented by GemArts and Gateshead Arts Development Team as part of GemArts’ Masala Festival.

For more information on Northumbria Law School please visit

GemArts award winning Masala Festival returns from 15th – 21St July celebrating a mix and blend of the finest South Asian Arts and Culture, packed full of incredible performances, exhibitions, events, workshops, talks, pop ups and delicious Indian food in venues, places and spaces across the North East.  For full Masala Festival 2024 programme visit

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