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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.

Bandula Peiris

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 Lumpur, Malaysia.

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.

 

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