When you harbour a love for the ocean, you begin to notice its secret movements; you start to pay attention to the stories that other sea folks tell. Stories of how the sand moves from coast to coast, like a gentle blanket of gold flowing from one side of the island to the other; and how the currents pull it as if acting out some unknown will of the great waters.
All over the world, the pull of the sea and the trail of the sand are followed by folk who are part of the ocean. They are the ones who made the ocean an aspect of their life, whether it’s to fish, swim, surf, study or simply sit and immerse themselves in the magnanimous sight that is the sea. As the sand begins to recede from one coast, these sea folk also pack their bags and find a place to stay on the next coast, following the currents.
Being an island with distinct sand and wave patterns alternating between the coasts, Sri Lanka has always had such migratory communities connected to the seasonal movements of the ocean. These communities include people like modern tribes built on water sports and leisure practices like surfing, swimming and diving and fisherfolk who’ve moved with the currents for centuries. Still, these migratory groups follow the trail of the sands and seas with the changing monsoons, moving between the coasts in search of the better side of the tide. From these movements, much of Sri Lanka’s travel industry has also been shaped, creating migratory professionals from yoga instructors, chefs, tour guides, surf instructors, hoteliers, artists, artisans, photographers, and retailers who move between coasts following the folk that trail the sand and the sea.
This vintage map of Sri Lanka depicts these secret movements of the ocean. It’s a tribute to nature’s tides that pull whole communities in their currents, drawing secret connections between sand, sea, and humans.
Of folks, sands, and seas: one-colour screen-print