Who are you, soldier?
In his evocative series Who are you soldier? Jagath Weerasinghe speaks about the thousands of young men who joined the Sri Lankan military forces during the 30 year war the country experienced. Young men from primarily rural communities turned to the forces as a steady employment.
By raising the question, the artist is revealing how a society makes a young man a ‘soldier’ and a ‘war-hero’, but robs them of their individual identity. Although they fight, they are not killing machines, they are humans like himself. Ordinary young men. Jagath complicates the idea that the military should be seen only as perpetrators of war and violence. Instead, the artist chooses to depict them as victims of a violent system, deprived of their own individual identities, and their right to better futures.