Luka Alagiyawanna’s practice explores identity and its entanglement with physiology, individual aspirations, and personal objects. Her work has adopted portraiture as its primary means of documenting narrative. By inviting the subjects of her photographs in the series From This Point Forward (2014) and Hinterhof (2012) to intervene upon prints of their own portraits, with various forms of mark-making, Alagiyawanna’s process champions their ownership in the presentation of personal journeys.
By collecting little pieces of styrofoam, plastic straws and various other polythene products found on the beach and composing them as cyanotypes together with similar organic materials, Luka Alagiyawanna involves us in a surreal game of indistinguishability. Collected, arranged and created instantaneously along the beach, these works speak to themes of labour, time and performance. Whether it is in the labour involved through collecting these materials, the scrutiny of passersby or the instantaneous nature of producing cyanotypes — the creation of these works turns into a performative act. Using these objects to cast a negative impression that in turn reveals a corporeal contour onto the paper surface — implies a reversal, of the human systems, involved in their arrival into this ecosystem.
Alagiyawanna graduated from Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule with a Bachelor of Arts B.A. in Photography. Her work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions in Berlin, Colombo, and London. She also serves as the head of the department of photography at the Academy of Design, Colombo.