Photo by Deshan Tennekoon
The above work of wall art is near the Bishop’s College junction on Dharmapala Mawatha in Colombo 7. It represents yet another example of the LTTE’s ongoing contribution to the Sri Lankan art scene. An uncommon display of cooperation between a civilian artist and the Tiger organisation, this work would not have been possible without the dedication and sacrifice of an LTTE suicide bomber.
In Colombo, the work was well received on the whole. Shane Fernando, a
Colombo art dealer, said, “I don’t know whether I could sell it, but it certainly beats Senka Senanayake”.
The NGO-sector was abuzz with the possibility of a full-scale joint exhibition.
Despite praise from Colombo, the Black Tiger unit which specializes in suicide attacks, and which is responsible for the above work, has recently come under heavy fire for continually failing to achieve objectives. Despite his priceless contribution to the fine work of art above, the suicide bomber in question failed to assassinate the target: the President’s brother and defence secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The Black Tigers’ Head of Art Appreciation, nicknamed Thunderpussy, is the man behind the LTTE’s art movement. He is a former Dadaist, but is now firmly committed to the LTTE’s Doo Doo philosophy. He had a different view to offer in defence when we met him in his studio in the jungles of Mullaitivu, and asked him about the failed bombing:
“The term, ‘bomber’ is so retro, darling. Get with the post-modernist programme. We prefer to call ourselves ‘suicide artistes’ because we have moved beyond the mere functionality of violence. It is art for art’s sake now. We must learn to appreciate this form of violence.”
The LTTE’s head of Human Resources shed some light on the origins of the art programme:
“We noticed that our suicide department came rock bottom in employee motivation surveys. We introduced Thunderpussy and Doodooist artistic expression to empower employees to find greater satisfaction in their work, but we may have to re-think if the Black Tiger unit continually falls short of hitting targets.”
The Black Tigers, however, are planning on making their art-for-art’s-sake philosophy more prolific. A recent work – the Meetiyagoda bus bomb which killed fifteen civilians – was pure art, devoid of any functional purpose, according to Thunderpussy. But, how is this purism being received in Kilinochchi?
“We had mixed reviews. Anton never liked installation art, but I showed the photographs to Velupillai, and he said he liked the piece”, says Thunderpussy. “…but of course, VP is a very creative and visionary individual and has even been hailed in international fashion magazines for his designs. The general public, on the other hand, will take a while to come around. As you know, an artist is only truly appreciated after his death.”
The head of HR confirmed that for functional artisans and pure artists alike, immediate post mortem appreciation is guaranteed with the LTTE’s rewarding martyrdom retirement plan.
So, what next for Thunderpussy and the Doo Doo movement?
“Well, I like working with my hands… and I like the texture of putty… so, I was thinking of starting some sculpture classes with C4 for the kids in the Mullaitivu base camp.”
We can only wish you well, Thunderpussy. Good luck.
2. Also, a friend wants to get in touch with the actual civilian creator of that mural for an interview (anonymity guaranteed), so if you know who did it, please leave a comment with your name and email address.