Contemporaries Art Exhibition:
Making their mark
In what was a peek into what the future had in store, in terms of
artistic talent, 34 young artists showcased their amazing, colourful and
evocative creations at The Young Contemporaries Art Exhibition, held at
the J. D. A. Perera Gallery, University of Visual and Performing Arts,
in Horton Place, Colombo, late last month.
The exhibition, organised by the George Keyt Foundation since 1999,
was inaugurated by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was the
Cedric De Silva, Chairman, George Keyt Foundation explaining that the
Foundation was set up in 1988, said it was done so for the assistance of
all talented artists, to give them opportunities and to enable them to
make themselves known. One of the three major events organized by the
Foundation in this endeavour is the Young Contemporaries Art Exhibition.
The others are Kala Pola, and Sri Lankan Art.
Here we profile three of the young artists who had their work on
display at the Exhibition.
- An emerging young artist, Kavinda Silva's three paintings on
exhibition are titled 'Golden Yellow', 'Wake-up Call' and
'Reminiscence'. He says he was inspired by 19th century European artists
and the Naturalists as well as the Old Masters and the Impressionists.
He likes Modern paintings to a certain extent but says it is not his
area. His favourite medium is oil on canvas and he prefers to draw
figures rather than landscapes. His paintings are beautiful and are
marked by attention to details.
Kavinda initially studied art on his own but later attended a
six-month course to fine tune his skill. When asked what art means to
him, Kavinda responds: "It's my passion." His emotionally charged
paintings bear testimony to it.
Kavinda has completed his degree studies in the science faculty and
is interested in Information Technology. He was a student of St.
Sebastian's College, Moratuwa.
Playing with light and shadow
According to Senani what inspires her to draw is perhaps her mood at
a given time. She tries to capture the light and shadow in her art work,
and it's understandable that her favourite medium is charcoal, which she
likes to smudge with her fingers.
The untitled portrait of a lady is done in Conte, which is a medium
that is made out of clay and pigments and there are many colours. Senani
chose light pink because it gives an oldish look and she uses off-white
paper. She selects her models based on their features and their posture.
She also likes oil on canvas but says it is time consuming and
requires a lot of space, although it is very easy. Senani says no one in
particular influenced her to paint and that she has been drawing since
childhood. Even when she was in school, she would sketch faces on her
exercise books and get scolded by her mother for doing so.
After Senani got married and had children, she could not draw for a
long time, but it was always at the back of her mind. She wanted to
start drawing but she did not have the time. She came to know that
Chandraguptha Thenuwara was having art classes close to her home and
started attending his classes and since then her drawing methods have
When asked what motivates her to paint, Senani says, "Painting
relaxes me and I feel that I have achieved something. I think I have a
little talent and that I should use it and I feel that I'm not using it
enough. If you keep on practicing you improve a lot. So I draw a little
once a week and it means a lot to me. I just go into a trance and I draw
and it relaxes me because it's something different from my life with the
children and the household."
Senani is a homemaker and flew for Sri Lankan Airlines for eleven
years before she got married. She studied at Newstead College, Negombo.
Rustic rural life
picture perfect paintings titled 'Baby Elephants', 'Hope' and 'Harvest'
captures the essence of rustic rural life in Sri Lanka. Renuka Dias does
not look at pictures to draw, but is inspired by what she sees. She
painted fishermen from Polonnaruwa, baby elephants playing in the water
in Udawalawe and farmers planting seeds in a paddy field, after her
visits to these places.
Renuka says she was touched by the hope and expectations the farmers
have of reaping a good harvest while planting the seeds. A recipient of
the Youth and the Kalapathi Award, Renuka says it was her teacher, Sunil
Lakshman, who taught her to draw and paint when she was a student of the
Sri Lanka Art Society.
Renuka, who studied art from childhood, did a three year course in
art after she completed her Advanced Level studies, and later went on to
participate in competitions. She had her primary education at St.
Anthony's College and her secondary education at St. Joseph's Balika
Vidyalaya, Colombo. Renuka is married and is a mother of two daughters.