THE YOUNG CRIT­ICS COM­PE­TI­TION

Pre­sented by Whyte­leafe Per­form­ing Arts Academy

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FOCUS - TEXT: THARUSHI JAYATHILAK­E.

Acom­pe­ti­tion should be ap­pre­ci­ated when young crit­ics,be­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of their gen­er­a­tion, are given a chance to ex­press them­selves with­out voic­ing the hack­neyed opin­ions of adults, ac­knowl­edged Bud­dhadasa Galap­patty, the award win­ning poet, writer and colum­nist who ex­pressed his views as the judge of “The Whyte­leafe Young Crit­ics Com­pe­ti­tion” held at the Whyte­leafe Per­form­ing Arts Academy for the 5th con­sec­u­tive year re­cently.

Fur­ther­more, he added his admiration say­ing “this com­pe­ti­tion by Whyte­leafe Per­form­ing Arts Academy is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, for it had not been seen done in any school or univer­sity up to date ”. The stu­dents of Whyte­leafe are pro­vided with guid­ance about crit­i­cally re­view­ing works of art for 2-3 years at the academy. This is fol­lowed by the Young Crit­ics Com­pe­ti­tion which en­ables the stu­dents to think crit­i­cally and present creatively. Af­ter a friendly but thor­ough eval­u­a­tion by the judges, the win­ners will be awarded in the an­nual awards cer­e­mony; “Whyte­leafe Ex­cel­lence Awards”. This con­cept of en­cour­ag­ing stu­dents to have a crit­i­cal point of view, ac­knowl­edge it and re­spect it, was in­tro­duced by Nalaka Swar­nathi­lake, the founder Di­rec­tor of Whyte­leafe Per­form­ing Arts Academy. In an age, where most chil­dren are ad­dicted and mis­guided by so­cial me­dia and tele­vi­sion dra­mas, his vi­sion en­ables the stu­dents of Whyte­leafe to use their in­stincts, imag­i­na­tion and cre­ativ­ity in a pro­duc­tive man­ner. The young crit­ics were not cat­e­go­rized into age groups when be­ing eval­u­ated. This cre­ated the free­dom of cri­tiquing any form of art for the com­peti­tors, re­gard­less of the age and a broader plat­form to gather opin­ions for the au­di­ence. Had they been branded by age, as an au­di­ence we would have missed the el­e­ment of sur­prise in see­ing younger stu­dents pre­sent­ing ad­vance ideas, as well as the awe in see­ing older stu­dents em­bed­ding sim­plic­ity in their en­tries. It was quite amaz­ing to wit­ness th­ese stu­dents of Whyte­leafe think­ing out of the box, prov­ing that you should never un­der­es­ti­mate the qual­ity or ca­pac­ity of think­ing be­cause age cer­tainly does not cre­ate lim­i­ta­tions. It was quite in­ter­est­ing that two young crit­ics as­sess­ing the mer­its and faults of the same work of art, “Thaala” a 2019 Sri Lankan Sin­halese mu­si­cal drama film di­rected by Palitha Per­era, which was eval­u­ated by tak­ing two dif­fer­ent stances. They were,“uni­form trends in tra­di­tional teach­ing” and “Is “Thaala” suc­cess­ful in con­tem­po­rary cin­ema? At first glance, one may no­tice that though th­ese are two dif­fer­ent takes on the same film, the dif­fer­ence is only di­vided by a very fine line. How­ever the young crit­ics man­aged to sieve through their ideas and em­pha­size this al­most in­vis­i­ble dif­fer­ence by pre­sent­ing two dif­fer­ent col­lec­tions of facts. Fur­ther­more, the nymph “Peni ko­madu wala iranama” by Ruwan Ban­du­jeewa, the songs “Amma san­daki..” by Malani Ja­yarathne, “An­duru ku­tiya thula by Pre­madasa Alawatte, “De­viyan mewu ni­handa se­balun” by Ma­hanayaka Gu­ru­pa­davi Rit­i­gala Sumedha, “Ethi de ethi setiyen” by Was­an­tha Kumara Kobawaka, “gan­gata ka­pana ini” by Arawwala Nandimithr­a and “Three Fat Men” by Yury Ole­sha were among the other en­tries.th­ese works pro­vide us with in­sight on how chil­dren make hu­man­ity and timely events as there base in pre­sent­ing their opin­ions.

NALAKA

BUD­DHADASA GALAP­PATTY

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