For my own undergraduate thesis, I created a card deck that sources from Sri Lankan Visual Imagery as a way of reclaiming colonial erasure. Though there are many facets of colonialism, I am focusing on how day to day objects define our post-colonial existence. Sri Lankan’s often wear jeans and T-shirts, even though our sarongs and kurtas are more appropriate for tropical weather. We design our billboards and store signs in English, despite Sinhala and Tamil being more common languages. It is this ubiquitous occurrence, things that we do not think twice about, define our colonial legacy.
Card decks and card games are other aspects of this ubiquity. The standard card deck references French royalty, textiles, and patterns, and though we play card games frequently in our culture, we are using a seemingly irrelevant set of cards. When we look at them, they do not reference our own rich, complex, and diverse history.
I aim to change that.
Following much research at Museums, Temples, and through books, epic poetry, and textiles, I have collected information on royalty, fashion, textiles, jewelry, religion, and folklore to produce 54 unique cards.
The process has been creating a meaningful relationship between numerics and imagery. What makes sense for the 2 of hearts, for the 3 of spades?