A book and exhibition about Sri Lanka's most important cultural event - the procession of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.
Sri Lanka and the Kandy Esala Perahera
Discovering the Spirit of Buddha in the Land of Elephants
In the early months of 1994, while on a plane heading to New York City, I sat next to, and had a long conversation with, a Catholic priest from Sri Lanka. At the end of that flight Fr. Quintus Fernando urged me to consider Sri Lanka for a project.
As one would expect, before leaving the United States, I gathered a number of travel books about Sri Lanka and did some basic travel research. Flipping through one of the books, I came across a photograph of a regally costumed elephant being ridden by an equally adorned man in a procession call the Esala Perahera. The text indicated that this Buddhist event took place in a town called Kandy, located in the mountainous center of the island. Described as an event that took place for ten continuous days, I thought this would be an ideal place to discover Sri Lanka; a decision that has proven correct in many ways.
As we all know Sri Lanka has gone through some very troubled times in the past years. This project is about the inherent beauty of its people and the richness of its culture. With both Buddhist and Hindu elements a great series of processions takes place each year in honor of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.
I’ve been working on this project now for the past 15 years. I’ve made ten trips to Kandy during the Esala Perahera period, resulting in thousands of photographs as well as an understanding of one of the Sri Lanka's great religious and cultural events. My trips have left me with a host of memories and a special group of dear friends. The photographs that I've made and text that I’ve written has all been assembled into a pre-publication manuscript.
My goal here on Kickstarter is to raise enough funding to produce a first-class book...a book befitting one of the world's great events.
Secondly the funds will be used to assemble and frame the photographs in a manner that would create an exhibition that could travel to various cities anywhere in the world. I also would love to take this body of work back to Sri Lanka for all there to see.
This project has always been about creating an awareness of the richness of Sri Lankan culture and the warmth and kindness of its people. The money raised for this endeavor will only be used to cover the actual costs of the project.
Please consider helping me with this effort. Any contribution you may make will be greatly appreciated.
More info here:
"This book is a testament to our people and to our culture. Through his dedication, Mr. Sarnacki has captured our national pageant with amazing photographs and a beautifully written text. I support this wonderful project and urge others to also." - Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka Ambassador to the United States of America.
"Thank you for sharing your photos and text from the Kandy Esala Perahera manuscript. I am impressed by the obvious time and energy that you have devoted to this project. The photos are stunning... Your work without question deserves to be published. Even in its current state, it already appears to be one of the finest photographic works on Sri Lanka anywhere." Stephen C. Berkwitz, Department of Religious Studies, Missouri State University.
Dear Mr. Michael Sarnacki I found your work on Kandy Esala Perahera to be fascinating and to be of very high quality. The images are breathtaking. We Sri Lankans are very grateful to you for your efforts. Best regards, Wick Gankanda, Los Angeles, California"AMAZING!!!! What an incredible journey! Thanks for sharing this." Greg Fisher, Delta Air Lines
By all means, feel free to contact me by email or by phone. If you send me a message here on Kickstarter I will gladly send you my contact information. Any ideas or suggestions you may have about this effort on Kickstarter or about my project in general will be considered. We will be working on this project for months and years to come. We would love to hear your ideas for possible exhibition spaces anywhere in the world or ways to creatively distribute the book. And anything else!!
If you prefer you can send your contribution direct to Michael Sarnacki. I know some people are reluctant to use their credit card online. Your name will not appear on this site, nor will the pledge advance the amount toward the Kickstarter goal. However, you will receive all the rewards of each pledge level. Just send me an email and I will provide you with a mailing address.
If the goal is not reached your credit card will not be charged and the project on Kickstarter will not be funded. We can't let this happen!
My first thought is to print an edition of the elephant photo that is the title image of the video. It is the key image of the project. If someone would prefer a different photo, I will gladly print the photo of their choice instead.
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Your name included in a List of Donors' on the project's website, a custom designed card, and a 8.5x11 print.
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