Traditional martial arts preserved by generations of people become a subject of pride for a nation. Angampora has been one such key component of Sri lankan culture and heritage since ancient times. Unique to Sri Lanka, the martial art form requires years to practice and master and is a deeply spiritual form of combat that was long considered as a lifestyle. It's rich history will tell you that it was used in many battlegrounds and as the years progressed, Angampora fighters held important positions in society- that of leaders, pundits and philosophers until the island was colonised. The British administration feared controlling a populace versed with Angampora’s deadly combat techniques, indigenous weapons, mantras and so called 'mystic' capabilities. Hence, 1818 onwards began the dark ages, where Angampora was banned to the extent that its schools were burned down and practitioners were shot in the knee. Somehow the martial artform was still preserved by a few families and survived even post-colonial rule. Over the past 15 years, it has gained support from governing bodies and made its way back to public interest via training schools and appearance in popular culture.
This photography project is a fleeting contribution by 4 photographers towards reviving the martial art form in today's day and age. Shot and produced completely in 2 days, Riddhi Parekh, Dhruv Sethi, Farhan Hussain and Suraj Katra took the the iconic locations of Colombo - Pettah Market, Municipal Council House and Marine Drive to shoot Angampora in unfamiliar settings.