Inner Sounds-a soul searching experience
Unlike in Western countries, here it is a rare sight to see art
lovers in galleries who spend hours staring at a painting or sculpture
and finding a link with the idea that the creator had when he created
Even though, there are thousands of students who pass out from the
Visual and Performing Art University every year, it is questionable as
to why there's hardly anyone in the galleries to appreciate this form of
art - sculpture and drawings.
There aren't many artistes who are actively involved in sculpture and
drawings but the few of them who are into it could blow anyone away with
thier mesmerising work.
Manoranjana Herath's 'Inner Sounds' is one such exhibition, needless
to say is one of the best sculpture and drawing exhibitions that I have
In one of his statements he beautifully stated the Idea behind his
'Inner Sounds' exhibition "Modern society has made our requirements
complex. To set up pleasurable living standards in our lives which are
integrated with diverse desires which float on. The majority of present
day Sri Lankan lives have been positioned amidst these vicious
Inter-personal relationships among humans have drifted apart. Trust
and mutual understanding has become a business now. There are no hearts
and minds which suffer solely or filled with happiness today. Even if
there is an equivalent, it is difficult even to imagine that a space
could be seen for such lives to germinate, at a time when we are bored
The craving in man to be powerful in society has become strong. His
or her whole life flows down mechanically in that dream. These human
souls wonder without freedom, rest or pleasure. These lives are roaming
along captivating streets in cities and villages and are marching
towards dream islands and are idling alone in dream cabins.
Can you say that this is not yours or my surrounding? Can you certify
that you didn't see all these things? Or else didn't you hear any of
these things? Whatever your answer is, it is certain that we ourselves
engage in an incessant lonely discussion about all these things. I so
forward to you these forms of internal voices of the solitary soul
Excerpts of an interview with Manoranjana Herath:
Q: Tell us the intention behind 'Inner Sounds'?
A: When creating any of my creations, I never had the
intention to hold exhibitions. I just concentrated on my work. 'Inner
Sounds' is an outcome of the research that I've been involved in for the
past two years at the University which was titled 'Self Portraits'.
I'd like to call 'Inner Sounds' an extension or a developed version
of the research of 'Self Protraits' where I tried to search my self
portrait and my inner desires through sculpure and drawing.
Q: Sculpture and drawing also falls into the category of
visual art which has a broader meaning. However, as a viewer to enter
into these type of art requires some sort of inner balance and in terms
of enjoying this type of art which is quite rare in our society.
This particular art sculpture and drawing have a limited audience and
is kind of isolated from society. As an artist how you deal with this
A: Not only the audience, we have a huge scarcity of sculpture
artistes too. Even though every year there are hundreds of students who
pass out from the Visual Art University, very few would continue in a
career as sculpture artistes.
It is true for a viewer to entertain this type of art you need to
have prior knowledge about the composition, colour balancing and other
basic things which the general audience may not have.
That could be the main reason as sculpture artistes we have to limit
ourselves within the walls of a gallery space and anyone can say this
type of art form is isolated. Because the gallery represents a certain
class with certain consciousness of society who can read and contemplate
to enjoy this type of art piece.
However, sometimes it is questionable as to whether those who are
actively involved with this art form could really appreciate its
outcome. The present generation doesn't have the thirst for knowledge as
we had when we were young. It is a generation that targets only
examinations and paper qualifications which is not possible with any art
Q: As I have noticed as the common character of many art
exhibitions is the description provided by the artiste at the end of
every art piece is missing in your exhibition. Why?
A: I didn't want to limit the imagination of the viewer by
giving an explanation according to my perception which I think would be
Through my art I don't talk about destination but it's a never ending
journey which you can read, question, understand and experience
according to different perceptions of life.
I don't think it's necessary to open windows by myself for the
viewers to look into my art pieces. I enjoy the comments that I get from
them and some comments are truely encouraging and opened novel avenues
which I never walked before.
Q: Sculpture is quite a time consuming art. How long did it
take to complete all these art pieces?
A: There are some art pieces in this collection which took
more than three years to complete. Some I did within two three months.
As it involved a lot of time, normally the art work also evolved with
Sometimes it ends up as something totally different to what I
initially invented. That is the beauty of sculpture and drawings which
doesn't have a concrete, solid idea but it evolves with the process.
Q: How is the demand for sculpture and drawings in Sri Lanka?
A: The main reason why we get involved with galleries all the
time for our exhibitions is they maintain a certain clientele which is
quite hard to find as individual artistes. Another reason is culturally
we have not created the space for sculpture so far in our private space.
Though we have some space for drawings as a wall interior, sculpture
couldn't develop that space yet in our day- to-day life.
Through 'Inner Sounds' as I'm sharing my personal experiences and
thoughts, sometimes it could be a minus point of getting connected with
somebody's inner self and that also could be a reason to have a lesser
However, we don't have the culture which consider sculpture as an
invesment. Considering the outside world, the value of sculpture is
developing from generation to generation. If we really think of a future
for this particular art form it is essential to develop that culture
collectively which is not possible only with the artistes.
Q: What are you trying to communicate to society through
A: 'Inner Sounds' is based on my personal experiences. It is
my reaction to situations which shocked me, shook me or changed me
through my journey of life.
As we cannot share everything that we experience and feel in society,
'Inner Sounds' tells you what I couldn't tell and what I couldn't
express. It is all about searching myself, questioning my beliefs and
'Inner Sounds' will go on till February 8 at the Barefoot gallery.