“The Sound of Silence” by Shelley Morris
I’ve just arrived home sweet home after three weeks in the northern parts of Sri Lanka, an area that was previously controlled by the Tamil Tigers, until their bloody defeat by the Sri Lankan military last May. Still dominated by the military, checkpoints at every corner, many of the provinces still declared as high security zones, and a strict ban on any foreigners. As you can imagine, many of these factors did not work in my favour.
I passed through the first major military checkpoint a few weeks ago, with bated breath and heart beating a little quicker than usual. The oppressive territory I was entering did not welcome me and I was well aware of it. The barren landscape was unsettling, stories of injustice and ongoing terror left me feeling so helpless. Countless women who had lost both children and husbands. Families destroyed, and minds tormented.
Nothing can prepare you for seeing and experiencing the aftermath of war. A feeling of angst deep in my soul, when confronted with such insurmountable suffering, came to me quickly, and it did not leave. I hope and pray that it never leaves me…
Shelley Morris is a humanitarian photographer based in Melbourne. She recently travelled to Sri Lanka to work on a personal photographic documentary. The aim of this project was to highlight and document the ongoing after effects of the recent war on Sri Lankan people. Through highlighting these personal stories Shelley hopes to raise the awareness of why Australia should not turn its back on political refugees but rather have a humane and accepting immigration policy.
I feel that through exhibiting these images’ barriers will be broken down towards demystifying the term ‘refugee’. Currently the Northern areas of Sri Lanka are closed to foreigners however I was able to gain access into the North. I was really both shocked and saddened by what I saw and the stories that I heard. The body of work which I would like to exhibit is both confronting yet purposeful. Upon returning I felt compelled to raise the awareness of the needs of these people, and I feel it is important to advocate and raise awareness to others about their stories.
Off the Kerb is a proud sponsor of this charity exhibition.