Rebellious monochrome artist
Man has been making wall paintings since the beginning of time. Caves
were filled with paintings of jathaka stories and traditional floral
designs. These paintings represent a phase of the Sri Lankan tradition
of mural paintings that is over 200 years old. Many Buddhist temples and
shrines with brightly painted interiors and line drawings still exist
throughout the island. Artist Chandana Ranaweera creates his works of
art, with a decided perception and a vague trace of personal style that
could be seen evolving into creative art. Chandana Ranaweera was born on
August 8, 1969. As a boy he grew up in the typical surroundings of a Sri
Lankan village in Kurunegala. His early education was at the Pahala
Alawwa Ratnalankara village school and completed his secondary education
at Kurunegala Maliyadeva Vidyalaya. From his childhood his pen drawings
projected his vision. He used various techniques and styles.
Chandana has not acquired any special academic training in the field
of arts but he was trained under the reputed art teacher Sumana
Dissanayake who turned him to be a master of the brush, pen and ink
work. He has proved his mastery and ability to arouse the enthusiasm of
the public with his pen. The titles of his latest works are emphatically
religious. A sampling of the titles is enlightening 'Abode of Gods,'
'The monks' 'Vesak lanterns,' 'Lonely God,' 'The drummer,' 'The Buddha,'
'Kavadi dancers,' 'Sitar player' and 'Vandana.' The variety of media in
which he works is oil, pen and ink drawings and the technique adopted in
the exhibition held at the Lionel Wendt in 2000 is largely that of the
college, Chandana has been able to make innovative and imaginative use
of local traditional material.
In some of his telling collages the implication of sacred tradition
is portrayed through fragments of ola-leaf manuscripts attached to the
painting. But he mostly excels in line drawings.
He has also participated in international group exhibitions in 1993,
6th biennial, Bangladesh, 1994, 8th Triennial, India, 1994, Norma
International Book illustrations, Japan.
One man exhibitions (local) 1991 'Come and see at the Public Library
auditorium, 'Calling Again' (1992) and 1994, 'Colour line poetry' at the
National Art Gallery, Colombo 7.
His works are displayed as permanent collections at Alawwa Junior
School, College Theme 'Observing Sil' Wilton Garden Temple, Singapore.
Chandana Ranaweera has received many awards in 1994 United Nations
Environment Program, World Environment Day (painting selected printed on
picture post cards.) In 1999 he received a certificate of merit from the
United Nations Population Fund Poster Competition (UNEPA). Artist
Ranaweera, is the most outstanding among Sri Lankan artists of our day
who creates paintings with folk flavour.