Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 24 April 2011





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An arabesque of colour fusion

Wading through his paintings, I was lost in an arabesque of colour fusion and light on diverse subjects he had put on canvas. The multi-faceted painter, academic, professional all rolled into one, Ranjit Perera is in a way responsible for the revival of classicism in modern painting of Sri Lanka.

Ranjith Perera

There is a total absence of narrative such as rippling cascades of drapery shrouding the burgeon. Instead he goes direct on to his subject that is distinct and positive.

He is not shy over his colour combination rather lets the brush strokes produce the imagery that is in his mind. Little bit of modern, little bit of contemporary, little bit of cubism, traditional, cultural, religious etc and that is why I call him a multi-facted artist.

Ranjit Perera is exploding in artistic virtuosity. The beauty he lends, the soft quality of life, the frenzied character on portraiture of faces and the distinct lines causing their individual identities, made me single out the faces of Lanka which I picked from his forthcoming exhibition.

The characters are very Sri Lankan and tantalizingly ethnic. He paints figures with reverence and modesty that is a part of Sri Lankan culture and abhors sexism.

It is laudable that Ranjit Perera managed a certain empathy between his character-portraits and other subjects. I also discovered and elegant variation on pastoral themes.

His subjects were varied and themes unlimited that one cannot comprehend his endless search for the better. He is still to discover the luxury of exposure from influences of art such as from the renaissance, French Impressionists, Italian masters or from the Ajantha Caves.etc. Sometimes I wonder whether Ranjit Perera wishes to retain only the Sri Lankan identity or stretch his talents elsewhere out of his homeland. I have not seen any foreign influence in his art.

Street urchins

He is geared towards natural artistic and philosophical development that is very revealing in his paintings.

1. Confusion: A single tear drips from her eye as she ponders her fate. Brushed up in all sahes of brown, rust, dash of cream highlights the face. Do keep looking into her single eye; it will become real and like a mysterious pool.

2. Street urchins: Cherubic, innocent but street-dirty, still retaining bubbly, lively trusting faces. The artist captures their expectations of a meal or a penny for survival in bold, dashing, master-strokes in vivid colours.

3. Tea plucker: The subject that never escapes the eye of any artist who symbolises her with our heritage. After a hard day's work, weary and worn-out. She is ready to head home to feed her brood. Perera has captured her inner thoughts powerfully in deep and penetrating sympathy in life's struggle... using a combination of dark shades.

4. Selling her mats: She reminds us of everyone's grandmother, cheerful though aged, still fending for grandchildren. The defiant matriarch of Sri Lanka tells us of the strength of energy, leaving behind generations. The artist has put a smile on her face, still looking towards the future.



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