- Sculpture and drawings on display at JDA Perera Gallery until Sunday
By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya
Love, in its many forms and frequencies, remains indescribable for the most part, and artist Dr. Manoranjana Herath tackles this in his ongoing exhibition of sculpture and paintings at the JDA Perera Gallery, Colombo, a collection through which he infers and forges “the reminiscing feelings of an indescribable, obscure love and emotions of an intimate relationship.”.
The exhibition “Indescribable Love” will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. until 11 December, and is described as a deadlock between black and white by Peradeniya University’s Faculty of Arts lecturer Prof. W.M.P. Sudarshana Bandara, who writes: “In his black and white outlines, I perceive the complex anthropomorphism that resonates in the collision of colour and line, as well as the gendered anthropomorphism that emerges from it.”
Prof. Sudarshana makes note of the artist’s boldness and destructiveness, as well as the masculinity, sexuality, and sexual aggression that come between the white and black.
These words can be found in the book of sculpture and drawings launched on 6 December, and available for purchase at the exhibition. The book allows one to see printed on paper the drawings and sculpture on display at the gallery, and is definitely of great value.
The artist himself is a senior lecturer at the Department of Sculpture, Faculty of Visual Arts of the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo. While Dr. Manoranjana Herath is actively involved in many research and creative endeavours and has contributed to numerous exhibitions, workshops, and programmes both locally and internationally. Dr. Herath has been active as an artist – although not a full-time artist, he pointed out – for three decades.
Sharing his views on his latest collection, Dr. Herath said certain memories, experiences, and thoughts in life have a wonderful bond, and that sometimes, these are bittersweet, filling our hearts with happiness as well as pain.
“As time passes by, most of these feelings and memories emerge in my mind or hide in a deep corner of my mind that I am unable to clearly define. Describing them is not an easy task. And sometimes I feel they are all worthless feelings.”
He expressed these through 300 line drawings, completed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which he said made our lives silent for a long time. The lockdowns that came about as a result of Covid-19 created a conducive environment for artists, he said, adding that an artist can be inspired at any time. During the pandemic, Dr. Herath took to writing and creating art, as can be seen in his exhibition “Indescribable Love”.
“During the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, things came to a standstill in Sri Lanka due to restrictions, but globally, many turned to online platforms and shows, which didn’t take place in Sri Lanka. I took part in six shows like this, but locally, the art scene came entirely to a halt,” Dr. Herath shared.
He added that today, social media makes it easy to reach people and promote one’s work, which he has been doing as well. However, the art scene in Sri Lanka is showing signs of coming back to life, with several exhibitions currently underway. These are mostly centred on Colombo, he said, highlighting that this has been the case since before the pandemic. Dr. Herath went on to add that galleries do not promote or protect artists, making it a challenge for artists in the country, especially those who engage in the arts full time.
Photos Eshan Dasanayaka