Photos: Krishan Kariyawasam
“I see a lot of variety in it” was Indira’s perception of the visual arts, a guest we spoke to that evening.
The exhibition showcases painting, drawings, installations, and book art by 10 home-grown artists; namely Kingsley Gunatillake, Kusal Gunasekara, Gayan Prageeth, Halik Azeez, S. Kanjendran, Susiman Nirmalavasan, Nilani Joseph, Sachitra Udayangani, Lakisha Hewage, and Sajith Dissanayake.
The inclusion of the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, filmmaking, and printmaking attests to Indira’s statement. Visual arts are a collection of the decorative, applied arts and crafts. From vintage metalwork to contemporary articles of the modern day and age, this art form is ubiquitous.
“Visual art is everything coming through your eyes and your mind. So if you read those, it becomes art. If you can’t, they just become visuals,” included Thenuwara.
As Thenuwara indicated, the group of artists who stem from numerous ethnicities gathered due to their keenness to embark upon social conscious issues. “I’m not saying you should embellish the world with colours, but other than that, encourage artists who do socially conscious art and take a social approach; not party politics, but general common issues to show ethnic and identity-related issues,” he added.
It included the work of senior artists such as Kingsley Nanayakkara as well as that of upcoming artists such as Lakisha and Sajith who happen to be recent graduates.
“Displacement” by Sajith Dissanayake, an artist from Mahiyanganaya, was an expression captured on paper. “The act of painting is a result of a dialogue between me and what I see; what I want. So, I think it is life. Everything around me is projected in my work.”
Halik Azeez captures visual art through photography. As Thenuwara incited, three of his works under the title “Suburban Poetry” happened to be chosen from a collection of 2017.
A highlight we came across that evening was the creative installation by Kingsley Nanayakkara displayed under the theme “Burnt and Quench”. He hoped to represent the lack of discussion of reconciliation, brotherhood, unity, and peace despite one’s eagerness to read and gather information.
This initiative which steps away from the mundane fine arts exhibits creates an arena for visual artists to be expressive of their life’s work. Speaking to Thenuwara, it became clear to us that society has begun to strive away from the general artistic hierarchy which places the fine arts at the apex and sculpture below it.
Needless to say, the ability of visual artists to view objects on a broader sense has enabled them to pace this form within the same level as that of other creative techniques. “When society has more equipment produced, the artist is required to think of different ways of making new visuals using this equipment. This is the continuous struggle. So because of this, although visual artists are very silent, their message is quite strong,” asserted Thenuwara.
Dates: 23 to 31 July
Venue: Lionel Wendt Gallery
Time: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.