Local artist of international fame
In the art of painting we do nothing more than the creation of forms
and their interrelationship and colouring so as to give the greatest
pleasure. As many critics believe it there would be no difficulty in
finding a common measure or a formal yard stick to discover and compare
the elements of 'formal beauty' whether in a Rembrandt or a Mondrian.
The formal divining rod, whether the subject of a critic's attention
happens to be figurative or abstract, is a thoroughly useful implement.
About this there can be no doubt. Yet, somehow, even in the most
experienced hands, it fails to do more than serve as a very approximate
common measure for representational and abstract work of art.
Some of his paintings
According to some, he is a great artist; according to others he was
of little significance; but upon one point all seemed to agree, that he
is the most convinced and consistent exponent of abstract painting in
Sri Lanka. Such a painter is Gunasiri Kolambage. He hails from
The splendour of this old romantic village, and its rich earth, warm
sunshine, and its Buddhist aura became a powerful and a lasting
influence to provide an artistic stimulus to Gunasiri's life. He was
born on November 1, 1938. Since he had an aptitude for art from his
early childhood, he was able to show his talents to his father who was
attracted by his sons's drawings on the walls and on the floor done with
The observant father helped him tremendously to promote his artistic
potential. As a child he was deeply moved by traditional Buddhist temple
paintings in his village. After school he spent most of his time in the
temple watching temple artists turning out brightly painted interiors.
Here he met a young artist bhikkhu who gave him his first art
lessons. Later he joined the Government College of Fine Arts which was
also known as Heywood School of Art, where he studied art under the
reputed gurus of the day such as Stanley Abeysinghe and H.B. Perera.
After completing his art education at the Government College of Fine
Arts he has worked in many reputed advertising firms in Colombo, as art
director and creative director.
Kolambage's talent as a painter was recognised by his appointment as
one of the art directors at the Concept Communications Brisbane
Australia in 1988.
He won the Finalist Award from the International Artist Magazine
published in Australia in 2009. His paintings adorned the walls of
leading institutions and formed part of several important private and
national collections in many parts of the world, including a large
painting at the Queen Elizabeth Foundation - Surrey. U.K.
His work had the air of a whim or fancy, and all sorts of themes that
stimulated his imagination. Spectacular fantastic effects were part of
the feeling of freedom he enjoyed in his work. The paint is handled with
absolute mastery, brushed patiently on to the surface and leaving the
portrait tingling with intensity and with palpitating surface texture.
Kolambage had the outstanding degree of craftsmanship with which to
achieve all this. His enormous output at the easel and his brilliant
work as a muralist was exhibited at his recent exhibition entitled
'Buddharaja' at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, Colombo.