Veins of Influence, Colonial Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in Early Photographs and Collections: by Shalini Amerasinghe Ganendra (1984)

Veins of Influence book cover

Veins of Influence is a pioneering monograph that brings a rich array of early images of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) into the global discourse of photography, pairing a striking lens of visual appreciation with distinctly humanizing perspectives. Images featured are from the: Royal Collection Trust; Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford; Royal Commonwealth Society, Cambridge University Library; Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Trustees of the Rothschild Archives. In addition to these UK collections, the publication includes early photographs from important local family collections and period publications. The collections are mainly  those of  ‘influencers’ and the writing considers images by both studio photographers and hobbyists, for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

This seminal publication is for  specialists (including scholars, collectors, curators) and general audiences.  Ganendra’s unusual analysis of these collections adds another layer of understanding of the viewing and imaging of Ceylon specifically, but also offers another approach to colonial image.

Shalini Amerasinghe Ganendra’s impact on cultural development has been defined by nearly three decades of cultural programming including exhibition and scholarship,  with notable focus on Sri Lanka.

Ganendra is Sri Lankan born and lives in Malaysia. She read law at Cambridge University (1987) and qualified as a Barrister and New York Attorney. She was the first Sri Lankan specialist to be appointed to the Tate Gallery (UK) Acquisitions Committee (SAAC) and has served on numerous judging panels including for the Commonwealth Arts Award and as a nominator for the Sovereign Art Prize and Aga Khan Architecture Awards. She was most recently a Chevening Fellow at Oxford and has held visiting positions at the University of Oxford, including at: the History of Art Department, St. Catherine’s College and the Pitt Rivers Museum.