Canadian Tamil youth showcased their artistic talent at Ilanthalir 2012, in Toronto on 27th April.
The event, Ilanthalir, meaning “young sprouts”, was hosted by TYO-Canada, and organised entirely by youth. It portrayed Tamil Eelam’s past, present and hopes for the future through a number of exhilarating performances that also illustrated the Tamil nation’s aspirations and key convictions of nation, homeland and self-determination.
Starting with a live rendition of the national flag raising song of Tamil Eelam, the show comprised of ten scenes, which captured the interconnected journey of the two protagonists.
The story began with two young girls at school who learn of the richness of Tamil heritage and explore the ancient history of the Tamil kingdom.
The next scene, by the Tamil Students’ Association at Ryerson University, exhibited the effects and consequences of British colonisation of the island, followed by scenes illustrating the discrimination and oppression that pre-ceded the pogrom of 1983.
The detrimental effects of the Sinhala Only Act was captured through poetry, whilst the Vaddukkoddai Resolution of 1976, the burning of the Jaffna library, and the 1983 riots were depicted through dance and drama sketches.
The horrors of Black July were reenacted by secondary school students, who played a key role in many of the larger scenes. York University Tamil Students’ Association depicted the armed resistance movement of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the 2002 ceasefire.
In a moving performance, the Tamil Students’ Association of Carleton University illustrated the atrocities of 2009, as well as the mass-scale protests by the Tamil Diaspora against the genocide that was taking place.
The final scene captured the hopes and aspirations of the youth - the independence of Tamil Eelam - and ended with the remembrance of the nation’s heroes.
Many in the audience were visibly moved by the performance as the youth placed flowers at a Thuyilum Illam.
During the production of the event, TYO-Canada launched a video competition, asking participants to answer the question - “What does artistic revolution mean to you?” through a 30-second video.
The winner, Vinsia Maharajah, won a Blackberry Playbook 64 GB as well as two complementary tickets to the show.