Bandula Peiris : Sculpture reflects humour and tenderness
In the coastal belt in the South of Colombo blessed with sandy
beaches and a rich deep blue sea lies Moratuwa. It has been the birth
place of legendary artists, musicians, dancers, dramatists, carpenters
and craftsmen. Bandula Peiris was born in the hamlet of Koralawella in
Moratuwa on April 9, 1950.
Bandula showed qualities of a budding artist from his childhood.
Since the time he could hold a pencil or a few pieces of charcoal, he
drew images of animals, human figures and birds. His first school was
Sri Saddharmodaya Buddhist School and he completed his education at Sri
Rajasinghe Maha Vidyalaya, Egodauyana.
After leaving school he joined the Government College of Fine Arts
(Heywood) to study painting and sculpture. He had his training under
reputed art teachers such as Tissa Ranasinghe and Mahagamasekera who
were principals of the school in 1973. After obtaining a Diploma in Art
and Sculpture from the Government College of Fine Arts, he first joined
Vijayaba Maha Vidyalaya as art teacher. He was able to teach the
subjects which interest students to satisfy their aesthetic interests.
An intricate design
Bandula continued to paint but his search for basic forms and rhythms
of nature always delighted him in the assiduous study of natural forms,
bones, the anatomy of the human figure, shapes and forms. Sculpture is
his primary preoccupation and he continues to make creations in metal
embossing, silver and bronze. Speaking of the relationship between
sculpture and drawing, Bandula said sculpture involves a life-long
struggle to grasp reality in terms of three dimensions and is the most
intellectual and imaginative pursuit. It is an endless pursuit which
even Michelangelo the great, pursued until the end of his life. Drawing
enables a sculptor to get an atmosphere around his figures – to give
them an environment, above all a foreground.
The struggle of this skilled artist with his favourite medium was
rewarded with a success which came quickly. From 1977-1981 he became an
instructor in metal embossing at the Institute of Fine Arts (Heywood)
affiliated with the University of Kelaniya.
In 1982 as the graphics and animation artist at the Sri Lanka
Rupavahini Corporation, Bandula was responsible for creating the
impressive Rupavahini Logo and was sent to Germany for advanced training
in animation at the Sender Frize Institution in Berlin. He also followed
a training course on computer animation at the AIBD Institution in Kuala
Returning from Kuala Lumpur he passed on his skills to several
students at the Sri Lanka Television Training Institute from 1991-2010.
His work is full of lifelike people and vigorous action and each of
them narrate a complete and interesting story. In 1988 he held a solo
exhibition at the library of the British Council displaying sculpture
and metal embossing work. The lyrical quality of the sculptures was
evident in his creations. His style reflected feelings of humour and
tenderness. He gained recognition not only as a sculptor but also as an
illustrator for various publications in line drawing and book covers. In
Sri Lanka Bandula's creations stand out. The bas-relief panel depicting
the development of communication in the country-display the lobby of
Studio No. 3 at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation.
The statue of Ven. Thotagamuve Sri Rahula Thera erected at the
Thelwatta Raja Maha Vihara and the sculptured busts of 18 Diyawadana
Nilames are now on display at the museum of the Temple of the Sacred
Tooth Relic in Kandy. They helped foster a wider recognition of the
creative achievement of the artist.