Soorya NYC is a multi-year, city-wide initiative by CTMD with Sri Lankan tradition bearers, artists and community members. The often overlooked borough of Staten Island is home to the largest Sri Lankan population living in the U.S. today, with satellite communities in Eastern Queens and Middlesex County, NJ. Sri Lankans began emigrating to NYC in the 1970s, followed by particularly large waves in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s due to the nearly three-decade long civil war, which reeked economic and social havoc on the South Asian country. NYC’s Sri Lankan community reflects the incredible ethnic and religious diversity of the island nation, as it is home to Sinhalese Buddhists, Tamil Hindus, Burghers, and diverse Christian and Muslim populations.
This multi-sited interdisciplinary project encourages important cultural conversations between often disparate ethnic factions of the Sri Lankan community as well as shares a cross-section of the country’s rich cultural traditions with the general public. Programming is produced and directed in partnership with key community-based organizations, businesses and individuals.