At a time when minorities are continuing to be oppressed in an island that not too long ago emerged from a 30 year war, Abdul-Halik Azeez, better known as Halik, has become a representative of his identity. Born in Nawalapitiya in the island’s Central Province, Halik completed his Masters in Financial Economics and now works as a consultant while researching hate speech in an online context. In 2007 he began blogging to put his ideas into a public forum and two years later he joined the Sunday Leader as a journalist to take a break from the corporate world. After attempting to publish and become involved in the online community Flickr, Halik found a portal that facilitated his wish to share his photography and his observations. Today Halik, aka Colombedouin, has over twenty thousand followers on instagram.
The day Halik joined instagram was the day he attended courts to make a statement as the witness of a murdered body he found on the side of the road in Bambalapitiya. This is one of many stories Halik shares in person and through his social networks. A keen observer of his surroundings, often serious in nature and sometimes light-hearted, it comes naturally to him to share what he sees, and more so, to document the change that is happening on a day to day basis in Sri Lanka today.
Halik’s imagery, though at first unassuming, merges the photographer’s journalistic observations with his knack for minimally strong compositions. It is not Halik’s instagram account alone that stands as his portfolio, it is the process with which he spends every moment observing, criticizing and capturing that makes him an artist with a life-long project. It is Halik’s words, imagery and relentless expression that are his work in progress.