Sharni Jayawardena’s collage of photographs from Galle Face Green in Colombo are a testament to the vibrancy and creativity of the protests against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family, before the violence unleashed there and elsewhere on 9th May 2022. Her lens captures the energy and passion of Sri Lankans across social classes and ages who flocked to Gotagogama with homemade posters in an extraordinary expression of non-violent resistance. The posters tell their own story of how the slogans of the protesters evolved beyond #GotaGoHome to encompass a plethora of other issues from enforced disappearances to extra judicial killings to economic justice.
We are all poster-makers! Images from Gotagogama, Galle Face, April to May 2022 – Sharni Jayawardena
2. We came with love!
3. Aragala Bhoomiya – Site of the ‘Struggle’
5. No divisions of race, religion, or language!
6. We can change the system if we are united!
7. This is the Easter curse!
8. Impeach Gota!
9. Artists March.
10. Enough acting, go home! Drumming for Justice, Samathai Feminist Collective, Batticaloa.
11. We reject all #225. You looted the money of the entire country! We need Sri Lanka back! Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim. We are now one. Let’s win!
12. The thieving, murdering and tyranny must end! Our country, our rights, let go of fear, fight till the end!
13. Books are the greatest weapon in the people’s revolution . . .
14. The mothers of the disappeared are waiting to see their children again . . .
15. End the Rajapaksa regime! Let’s build a future for our country!
16. We will not be silenced!
17. This is our country!
18. Invoke not the sound of horns, but the sound of agony in our hearts, the sound of sharp creativity, the sound of fresh hope…
19. Let’s end this corrupt regime! No half-baked solutions!
20. Gotagogama Art Gallery.
21. People! Let’s unite; Lets break our shackles and rise!
22. Monument built for victims of Easter bombings.
23. Marchers carrying white flags spattered with “blood”!
24. Go Home Gota 2022!
25. “Anonymous” on a motor bicycle.
26. We demand justice for disappearances! Let’s end this regime that kills.
27. Wife carrying photo of disappeared husband.
28. Where is Justice? No more killings and enforced disappearances!
29. Rambukkana’s gun, will be directed towards your heart tomorrow!
31. Asked for food, received bullets!
32. Micro credit is a death trap! Let’s join the people’s movement as women!
33. A tomorrow without excessive micro credit interest rates! Micro credit is a death trap!
35. We pay our tribute to all those unarmed people who were killed by the cursed, demented Rajapaksa regime.
36. Fellow citizens thank you!
37. No party politics! No racial divisions! Unite to protect the country!
38. Gota go home, if not face the Bata (slippers)! Your time is up!
39. Audit first, audit second, audit third!
40. Let’s sacrifice for our children’s tomorrow! Abolish the privileges of public representatives! Establish political stability!
41. Restore our stolen future!
42. The main demands of the people’s struggle!
43. Obey the people’s will!
44. You have f**ked with the wrong generation.
45. 21.5 million lives are not your playground!
46. How can someone who can’t write a script properly, run a country? Studying without lights, are we to qualify like Cabraal.
47. Sorry for voting! Didn’t vote [for Gota] but now suffering!
48. Don’t sacrifice our youthful lives!
49. Save Sri Lanka economy! Art. 27(2) of the Constitution: the equitable distribution among all citizens of the material resources of the community and the social product, so as best to subserve the common good.
50. Protect the people’s sovereignty!
51. Go Home Gota 2022. We can! People’s revolution!
52. Let’s rise together!