About the Artist

Shyama Golden (b. 1983, Texas) is a Sri Lankan American artist with a background in painting and graphic design. Her oil and acrylic paintings use figuration to explore the complex and layer ways identiy is experienced, performed, and reinforced. Her current series features Sri Lankan masked folk dancers who traditionally perform in colorful and often comedic exorcism rituals to remove unseen spirits causing physical and mental ailments. In mundane American scenes, the dancers feel displaced, but create new reality that represents the artist’s desire to connect with parts of her cultural hertigage which are disappearing in a world where they have mroe relevance as tourist spectical of nationalist pride than their intended purpose as a healing ritual. The original symbolism of the Yakkas is also used in scenes where the artist combines self portraiture with specific Yakkas who represent her own ongoing inner conflicts.