Stories of Kannagi: 2020

Stories of Kannagi was commissioned by Jiva Parthipan and created in collaboration with members of the Tamil community in Western Sydney. The video installation reimagines the 2000-year-old story of Kannagi, a young woman who is forced into exile by the misdeeds of her husband, yet defends him against injustice in their new homeland. When her husband is executed for a crime he did not commit Kannagi confronts the King – proving his innocence through a powerful speech. 

The winner of The Blake Established Artist Residency and Exhibition is Zanny Begg for the work Stories of Kannagi. This work, centred around the perspectives of three Sri Lankan, Tamil women is a luscious and celebratory portrayal of complex intersections between gender and evolving tradition… This significant Australian artist is known for the sensitivity and rigour embedded in her processes when working with various community groups and it is anticipated that the artists will greatly benefit from the strong, diverse community groups around the Casula area.

66th Blake Prize Judges: Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Maud Page and Kumi Taguchi.

Stories of Kannagi features three Tamil writers based in Australia, Niromi de Soyza, Shankari Chandaran and Srisha Sritharan, who also use language as a form of resistance to colonization. Niromi de Soyza is the author of Tamil Tigress, a memoir of her experiences as a child soldier in the Sri Lankan civil war; Shankari Chandran is the author of Song of the Sun God a three-generation saga across Sri Lanka and Australia; and Srisha Sritharan is a singer/songwriter. Stories of Kannagi explores the impact of colonization and civil war has had on Tami communities living outside of Sri Lanka by looking at interrelated issues of love, language and storytelling.

Stories of Kannagi was the winner of the 66th Blake Prize Established Artist Residency. Same River Twice was the work made through this prize.

In the Media:

Tamil Classic in The Blake Prize, IndiaLink News

Stories of Kannagi credits:

Rubi Balasingam
Shayan Rajendram
Ramesh Nithiyendran

A film by Zanny Begg
Creative Producer Jiva Parthipan.

Cinematography by Ella Gibbens
Score by James Brown
Sound design by Liam Egan
Singing by Srisha Sritharan
Music by Jasmine Guffond and Kate Carr
Casting by Fiona Dann
First AD Rishi Montgomery
Second AD Tiansong Ling
Gaffa Nathan Grant and Richard Mason
1st Camera Assistant Dane Howell
2nd camera Assistant Justin Chau
Art Direction Zanny Begg, Grace Partridge
Producer Bhavna Lalwani
Costumes Vishnugar Arunasalam
Make up Shahmen Suku
Sound Luke Stacey
Colourist Yanni Kronenberg

With thanks to RJ Yalavan, Karthika Ganeson YAARL , Old Parramatta Goal, Elise Mcleod, YSA Arumugam, Eelan Elangovan , Sri Sritharan, Sujan Selven, Nina Miall, Kesiken Decor, Chamu Kuppuswamy, Nedra Rodrigo, Viji Dhayanathan

Funded by Australia Council for the Arts and STARTTS.