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Writer | Editor | Narrative investigator | Words in @Guardian @Aljazeera @NYT @Vice @N_Map and countless notebooks | permanent citizen of the country of words

Dancer and choreographer Kapila Palihawadana talks to us from his studio in Colombo, Sri Lanka

In the last year, I have had the opportunity to get close to many people who use their bodies as language, and in the process, I am learning to do it myself. I am not a dancer, but I have a body, and this body — containing mind, heart, intestine, lungs to breathe and all my emotions — is the one thing I have that is only mine.

The body, therefore, tells a story and also constructs the narratives in and around us. Each body…

learning comes with error: it is necessary, soft, buoyant and extremely human.

To heal, one must acknowledge the wound. To acknowledge the wound we must also recognise the fault that brought it.

I am here to make the case for error. Not the romanticised error that makes you melancholic about the past, or the mistakes made when other bodies and minds are invaded and deprived of some freedom, I am talking about the necessary error that comes with learning; it is soft, buoyant and extremely human.

In fact, the things we see are often characterised by the inexact. Simon and…

from Lagos Nigeria, the artist sits with us for a conversation on blackness, identity and the artistic process.

One day I sat contemplating the sea in search of a practical answer to the human experience: what makes us human? After watching my mind take many turns, I realised the one thing that differentiates us from other living beings is our ability to create art. Whilst nature and animals have a finite artful existence, human beings have taken their own existence, recreated it through their eyes, and made it transcendental with art.

There is honesty in art, and whilst not everyone relates to every art style, I believe all humans can relate to an artful existence, for it is…

why the spiritual is not a luxury, but another silent rebellion

This morning I opened my notebook and found something I jotted down from a book I read some time ago, I put no reference (to whoever wrote it please come forward!).

“All religions are a form of institutionalised mythology”

It motivated me to explore the spiritual, a word that has, in my opinion, acquired a superficiality that does not belong to it. What I simply mean, is that which we can feel but not touch, that which is hidden in the darkness, underground, in our stories and our emotions…

The best way to tell our own stories is to live them.

In this article, I will probably not give you what you want. If you want satisfaction, you can stop reading now. I will not explain to you why the protagonist of this story chose to live in a certain way, or why she has been a recluse for forty years after being called the queen of funk. What I will do, is try to tell a story without telling a story. Are you coming with me?

Ancestral rage

My body is made of roots I can’t explain the origins of…

The most useful advice I was given was to replace my “or”s with “and”s

“Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” Walt Whitman

The most useful advice I was given was to replace my “or”s with “and”s. In an exercise to accept my multitudes, I followed the advice and learned that I did not have to fit into one definition, it was freeing.

Binary or hierarchical ways of thinking pervade politics (conservative vs. liberal, right vs. left), gender (male vs. female), knowledge (logical vs. emotional), and even our own definitions of…

What role do narratives play in bridging the gap between humans and the land we want to protect?

I found this place on my favourite island, it is a bench made of rocks, framed by two beautiful pine trees. It overlooks the vast sea and there is a natural smell of rosemary, sea salt, and pine that invades the nostrils. Sunsets in ‘El Pulpo’ are unique. But how did I get from admiring the sun to becoming mad?

The idea for this piece came as I was taken by a whirlwind of emotions that made me feel extremely powerless in…

here is what you can do to help the movement.

This might get uncomfortable, but it will be worth it.

Imagine you are an experienced pilot and your plane is crashing, suddenly a co-pilot comes in and offers help. Would you want them to tell you how they are not responsible for the plane crashing or would you want them to say “Hey, I’m here, what do you need to save this plane from crashing?”. The former case scenario is how speaking to men about the patriarchy often feels like for me.

A recent conversation on feminism with a male friend reminded me that humans generally do not like being…

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Women are interconnected with the clothing industry on so many levels. From the scrutiny that they get about their appearance, to being victims of human rights abuse to pioneering the sustainability movement; behind the textile industry is a feminist discourse.

If we asked you to think of three sustainable fashion icons, the probability that you would think of three females is very high. Women are undoubtedly at the forefront of the fight for sustainability in fashion, but did you know this goes back to the 1800s?

“Whilst the phrase ‘ethical consumption’ did not exist prior to…

How to write for Waves through a collaborative process

If you are interested in collaborating with me on a piece, send an email to

If you have expertise in a certain topic pertaining to what we write about, and you feel you are building new narratives for the future and would like to share this work, this is a good place to start. I am excited to know about the amazing projects that are out there!

If you have a piece already written that you would like to share on this platform, I will help you bring it to…

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