Ondru describes itself as a rising movement in the arts and literature, engaging with art, politics, film, social themes. Ondru supports artistic events, and is conducting research into locally-based projects. You can sense the verve and potential of this Melbourne-based organisation, founded by the Sri Lankan emigré poet, Desh Balasubramaniam.
I became acquainted with Desh a few years ago when he submitted work which was published in Mascara Literary Review. In his poems Desh has the courage to focus the experience of living in a war-torn country, the Northern and Eastern provinces, from which he and his family fled at the age of thirteen on humanitarian asylum to New Zealand. I was immediately drawn by the rawness and wrought anger in his poetry, and its sculptural form, which was not at all deliberate, but fluent and organic. Voices of migrant anger, like the feminist rage of poets like Plath and Sexton are not necessarily the voices of true or false selves but become textual enactments where identity can be questioned and revised.
One can argue the challenge of literature becomes a challenge of imagination when it sees itself connected to cultural values. Like the gender performance of Plath’s Vesuvian rage, the cultural performance of Ouyang Yu, Omar Musa and emerging writers like Desh is a primary creative source, a liberating subjectivity that provides an alternative release to more ambivalent, complex strategies through which identity is negotiated.
Ondru is now calling for submissions to its journal, and here’s what they say about their projects:
Our projects explore the subjects of art, culture and political thought with an attempt to evoke emotions and inspire dialogue. We believe art and creative expression must reflect, contemplate and question society and its ways, and give breath to the senses.