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Sunday, 22 November 2015





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ABU's ingenuity

An unusual collage composition goes on display at the Française de Kotte à Colombo:

An intriguing exhibition of fused techniques by Prasad Abu Bakr, titled 'ABU collection of Collage', got underway at the gallery of Alliance Française de Kotte à Colombo, at 11, Keppetipola Mawatha, Colombo 5 (adjoining Police Park) on Friday, November 20. Presented by The Alliance Française de Kotte à Colombo and sponsored by Pegasus Reef Hotel, the exhibition, which had an invitees-only opening on Thursday, November 19, will go on till Sunday November 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Chief Guest at the invitees-only opening was Harsha Jayasinghe, General Manager of the Pegasus Reef Hotel, while the Guest of Honour was Claude Alexandre Martinez, General Delegate of the Alliance Francaise Foundation in Sri Lanka.

In this exhibition, Abu the artist combines his two favourite techniques to compose pictures creating unusual collage compositions. An amateur photographer himself but having a long artistic career to his credit, Abu has formed a collection of artworks combining photography with painting and pasting of 'bits n pieces' of paper torn off from magazines, creating a visual impact of rare visual beauty.

His involvement with the arts began as a self-taught artist until he came under the direction of late Mrs. Cora Abraham (pioneer of the present Cora Abraham Art Classes - once also known as Melbourne Art Classes) where his creative instincts were brought out and sharpened, not by rigid drawing or painting techniques but mostly through her attitude towards children and their response and attitude towards creativity in their evolving life. "It was an excellent kick-start for me at a tender age, which I cherish up to date," says Abu.

Creative instincts

Abu has used his creative instincts to nourish other fields in the arts such as batiks, interior decorating, fashion designing, creative crafts, photography and literature. However he used his talent in painting to enhance most of the above artistic exercises he got involved in all along.

His involvement in batiks began when he started work with late Vipula Dharmawardena, as an artist for wall hangings. He later joined Mrs. Ena De Silva, the lady and her designer out-fit responsible for creating the three gigantic Lanka Oberoi lobby pennants' hanging over head at the Atrium Lobby from the late 70s until recent times. Under her direction however, Abu was trained to design for batik garments where his first ever exposure was designing for ladies wear and involving himself in fashion shows organised by one of Colombo's leading boutiques 'Mariposa'.

Taking a lead from there onwards, ABU created a name for himself as one of the most sought-after dress designers in the batik industry at the time. His tenure at 'Buddhi Batiks' from 1976 to 1982 gave him the opportunity to explore the field of designing for ladies-wear and producing fashion shows, viewed mainly by foreign tourists visiting Sri Lanka. In later years he produced his own collections that went on show at many leading star class hotels in Colombo. Between the years 1982 -1985 Abu worked as a creative 'Window Designer' in the Middle East travelling through many countries such as Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt.

Expanding horizons

During this period he availed himself to travel through many other countries in the region such as Tunis, Turkey and Iran, exposing himself to many cultural and artistic aspects those countries had on offer.

Abu's exposure overseas sharpened his knowledge in the creative arts and gave him the opportunity to work as an interior designer for leading hotel groups here and travel overseas as a pavilion designer at leading travel fairs where Sri Lanka was taking part promoting tourism.

Later in the mid-90s Abu joined the field of journalism - first as a graphic designer and was later recognized as a travel journalist and photographer - the field of work he dabbles in up-to-date.

"This current collection consists of around 30 images and is a novel creative exercise I have been working on over the recent years," he says.


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