'Rue de la Nostalgie'
A Parisian street came alive on Colombo's Guilford Crescent on Friday
July 10. And I shall take the liberty of christening it 'Rue de la
Nostalgie' (Street of Nostalgie). Coming to life between the walls of
the elegantly-lit Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, veteran television host,
writer, public relations specialist and corporate etiquette trainer
Kumar de Silva's annually held black and white photography exhibition of
France 'through a lens' -'Nostalgie' opened for the fifth successive
year. The theme of this year's exhibition was street scenes from Paris.
And what was Kumar to present this year as the setting and decor theme
for his exhibition? A street scene of Paris, setup inside the gallery
The opening evening was a star studded scene to remember with the
presence of screen stars like Sriyani Amarasena, Sabeetha Perera, Angela
Seneviratne, Semini Iddamalgoda, Sangeetha Weeraratne, Yashodha
Wimalaradharma together with gurus of 'cinema direction' like Chandran
Rutnam and Mrs. Sumitra Peiris and of course the chief guest of the
evening who crowned the event with her gracious participation -Mrs.
There were also many of his good friends such as Vajira Chitrasena,
Ramani Fernando and Nayana Karunaratne, former Army Commander Gen. Daya
Ratnayake, Abbas Esufally, Ishan of the De Lanerolle Brothers fame,
Padma Maharaja, Sanjeev Jayaratnam of The Revelations Fame, Deepa
Edirisinghe of the EAP Group among several others.
Kumar de Silva
A notable feature was the presence of his numerous friends from the
print and electronic media in a massive show of solidarity for this
exhibition for charity,
All profits from the sale of photographs will go to the Scholarship
Fund of the children of the award-winning 'Nation' / 'Rivira' press
photographer, the late Rukshan Abeywansa, who died last year.
The French Embassy in Colombo displayed its solidarity with Kumar in
full measure with a high profile presence.
The Alliance Francaise de Kotte (AFKo) also was a notable
institutional partner of this delightful and aesthetically appreciable
project. Black and white photographs of streets scenes of Paris adorned
the four immaculate walls of the gallery while cosy corners and nooks of
mannequins dressed up as Parisians were frozen in their moments of
painting street scenes, and rendezvous-ing at wayside cafes while a
'lady of the night' in fishnet stockings and mini skirt discreetly stood
behind a lamppost!
Veteran broadcaster and thespian Neidra Williams was the compere and
added much vibrancy to the evening's proceedings. Young musician Nuran
Gomes delivered an enchanting solo violin performance and then soon the
crowds along Rue de la Nostalgie were rapt by the captivating vocal
elegance of songstress Menaka de Fonseka Sahabandu dressed as a Parisian
street singer replete with beret et al.
She enchanted the guests with the perennial "La Vie en Rose" and
"Under the Bridges of Paris" serenading guests along the centre of the
street and ascending the stage. An accordion player too entered the
vibrant Rue de la Nostalgie to add to the Frenchy ambiance. Red and
white wine generously flowed together with delectable canapés like spicy
prawn pastry boats, stuffed eggs, and salami with creamed cheese on
bread, and not forgetting a remarkably delicious iced coffee to
delighted the palates of the crowd that thronged Rue de la Nostalgie
that memorable Friday evening.
old fashioned iron streetlamps provided by Ravindra Randeniya and The
Film Team marked the lengths of the street scene and added much to the
ambience. Lou Ching Wong was instrumental in the creative direction that
'dressed up' the scene and must be applauded for the commendable
'installation art' decor which surely everybody there delighted in. And
evidently some had delighted more than others since it was later
discovered that some of the invitees had eaten the chocolate chip
cookies placed on the table that served as part of a 'cafe corner scene'
and were meant strictly as 'decor' and not part of the refreshments!
Memorable moments and anecdotes for days ahead were thus not deficient
on Rue de la Nostalgie that balmy Friday evening.
Five years now in the running with Nostalgie, a celebration of France
through black and white photography themed to a different style each
year, Kumar de Silva who unpretentiously admits that his venture into
photography is an amateur's efforts to explore a sense of aesthetic
expression with the camera, has done justice to those who spent time to
gaze at 'France' as he has captured it through the lens. Congratulations
Chevalier Kumar de Silva, another successful edition of Nostalgie has
been completed. What waits next year round? Time will tell. And until
then let a hearty chorus ring out - Vive Nostalgie !