Rich colours - fresh dimensions to nature
Born to a family of physicians, he saw the first light of the world
on March 10, 1957. He is the son of the village ayurvedic physician. His
father's dream was to see his son becoming an ayurvedic physician. But
ayurveda proved a bitter pill to Ariyawansa Kumarasinghe which he
refused to swallow.
Yatiyane was a village spotted with little ponds, and a luxuriant
growth of tropical foliage turning the hills into an undulating blanket
of greenery, stretched away to a host of white clouds. The surroundings
and the villagers with their simple lifestyle enriched Ariyawansa's
artistic creativity. He showed an artistic inclination early in life. As
a little boy he scribbled images of birds, animals and human figures on
the walls of his home with charcoal or chalk, and on paper. While in
school he impressed his teachers with his creativity. He completed his
schooling at Nalanda Madya Maha Vidyalaya, Minuwangoda.
Dutugemunu versus Elara
As Ariyawansa grew older his father had to decide about his son's
career. For some time he was divided between the professions of painter
and ayurvedic doctor. The first might give the boy satisfaction, but the
second would provide him with a decent living. The boy, on being
consulted about his career, replied he would rather be a good painter
than a rich doctor. As a young boy he didn't have the opportunity to
follow a course in academic art.
He is a self-made artist. His natural gift for art through sheer
perseverance proved his ability to arouse the enthusiasm of the public
at the young age of 15, displaying his colourful creations on Vesak
pandals during the festive season. At the age of nineteen Aryawansa
joined the Sri Lanka Industries company as chief artist in 1979. From
then onwards he didn't look back, but worked in a number of leading
private firms to start him off on the road to financial security.
From time to time, Ariyawansa painted. His subjects were derived from
religious classics, or great historical events. His name spread far and
wide as a historical painter. He turned out historical battle scenes on
oil on canvas, such as the famous ‘battle of Mulleriyawa’, the
Portuguese destroying the Fort in Jaffna, and the arrival of Prince
A huge oil painting titled ‘Elara-Dutugamunu adorned the walls of the
Fort Hammen Hill the Navy headquarters at Kankasanthurai. He uses
moderate colour combinations in mixing his orange with green. The
integration of colour line and form is vibrant and powerful in his
paintings. Ariyawansa was fortunate to receive guidance for a short
while under two eminent artists, Kalasoori G.S. Fernando and Kalabushana
Susil Premaratne, on the basic techniques of water-colour painting, who
encouraged him to turnout brilliant water colour paintings.
His work has a wide variety of designs. His outstanding talents as a
painter was due to his dedication. He brings out the richness and the
beauty of landscapes in rich flashy colours. His remarkable power of
observation enabled him to copy what he saw faithfully, rivers, valleys
mountains, forests, and lakes. Every fold on the ground is brought out
in clearest detail, down to the last line. His colour schemes have a
memorable individuality. His work depicts fresh dimensions to nature,
and shows a distinctiveness in both composition and the use of colour.
Ariyawansa has a set of foreign buyers and exhibits his paintings in
the personal art galleries of some collectors and art lovers.