Plus - Letter to the editor

Artistes need help in their lifetime, not honours when they are dead

Two well-known Tamil artistes passed in February, leaving a void in the Tamil fine arts arena. They are the multi-talented Manimekalai Ramanathan, who passed away on February 17, and the equally talented Srithar Pichaiappa, who died on February 20. The bodies of both artistes were kept at the Colomgo Art Gallery for the public to pay their last respects.

Messages of condolence poured in from all sides, including the highest in the land. Such messages are of no benefit to the deceased artistes. Distinguished persons, Sinhala and Tamil, should be honoured in their lifetime.

It is a known fact that most artistes live in poverty. In the case of the Tamil artistes, they have no permanent homes or monthly income. Many talented artistes are forced to move from house to house, so much so that state organisations such as the SLBC and Rupavahini have a hard time locating them when they are needed.

Politicians are good at making grand promises and proposals, especially at election time, to help artistes, but these are never kept or fulfilled.

The state, whatever party is in power, should launch a programme to help the country’s artistes live a decent life so they can give their best to their art, without having to worry about where the money will come from for their basic needs.

Meanwhile, we should thank the government for going ahead with the China-funded theatre complex coming up at the Municipal Sports Club Grounds, adjoining the John de Silva Theatre in Cinnamon Gardens.


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