Arriving in Australia six years ago, musician and composer Hari Sivanesan admits he felt at a bit of a loss. Born in London to Sri Lankan parents, growing up in the UK in the 80s and 90s was “a very different place” to what he encountered in Australia, he says, “especially in terms of the arts world. The opportunities I was afforded at that time [in the UK] were so different to what exists here.”
“I felt when I arrived that I was in a dry well. I literally didn’t know what to do with myself, to the extent that I thought about going home.”
Nonetheless, he stayed and in 2019 joined forces with Dr Priya Srinivasan, a celebrated scholar, dancer and choreographer, to create Sangam, an intervention aimed at increasing representation in the arts for artists from South Asian backgrounds.
Sivanesan is a virtuoso on the veena, which he dubs “the mother of the sitar”, as well as a vocalist, composer and curator, who brings his Sri Lankan, Tamil heritage and his South...