11th March 2001
Rare treat for Sinhala readers
German writer Holger Kersten wrote Jesus lived in India over two decades ago. Having worked on the project from 1973, the first edition came out in print in German in 1983. So great was the response that in the past ten years the book has been translated into at least 30 languages, including Croatian, Polish, Korean and Chinese. Now the first Sinhala translation has appeared.
Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilleka has named his translation Jesuthuman Dambadiva Visoo Vagai. Interestingly, the Sarasavi publication is being released on the eve of an impending visit by author Kersten. When he arrives later this month, a discussion on the book will be held by local publishers at the Mahaweli Centre on Wednesday, March 21 at 3.30 pm.
A veteran writer and author of 31 novels, Jayatilleka's major translations are Light of Asia and Doctor Zhivago. Resident in the United States for nearly 30 years, he has scripted many stage dramas, radio dramas and television programmes.
Jayatilleka was impressed with Kersten's work which he wrote after extensive tours of Israel, the Middle East, Afghanistan and India.
Works of art
Were you lucky enough to receive the Sri Lanka Telecom calendar this year? Last year when I went over to the Nugegoda Teleshop to pay a telephone bill in mid-January, I was told the calendar was given to those who turned up to pay their bills on January 1. So this year I was there on the 1st to pay the bill. "We haven't got calendars," was the answer.
I was, however, lucky to get one from the creator, Wijayabandara who has once again done an excellent job in producing a 'keepsake' calendar. It's a tour of 'Sigiriya, the rock palace', which is a unique monument of art and architecture, advanced urban planning, hydraulic technology and the magnificent engineering skills of the highly developed civilization of the 5th century AD. There are 12 full size reproductions from the Sigiriya paintings along with miniature photographs of places to see and admire at the site. An informative narrative, with many quotations makes interesting reading.
Wijayabandara has also designed a calendar for the National Insurance Corporation on Embekke Devalaya, "the ultimate wonder in wood".
It is heartening that there are clients willing to move away from pretty faces and fashion models to present works of art of lasting value. They are also willing to spend good money in producing something of quality.
Sumitra on EarthVision panel
Leading film-maker Sumitra Peries joined a panel of eminent media professionals last week to serve as a juror at EarthVision, the Tokyo Global Environmental Film Festival where the best environmental and wildlife films made in Asia and Oceania during 1999-2000 were being selected.
This is the second time a Sri Lankan has served on the panel. In 1993 science writer and journalist Nalaka Gunawardena served as a juror.
Enjoying Satyajit Ray films
It's not often that we get to enjoy a Satyajit Ray film. Rupavahini should be commended for screening two Ray films in recent weeks. One was Agantuk (The Stranger -1991), the last film Ray made. The other, Jana Aranya (The Middleman) though made as early as 1975 is on a theme valid even today - the depths to which one (in this case an unemployed graduate) has to descend in his struggle to find a job.
Agantuk is Ray's own story and he directs the music too. The other is based on a novel by Sankar. Here too Ray handles the music which is sparingly used.
This exhibition is different. Here are four painters presenting their work to the public to share with them the beauty they created, to transpose if possible, some of the delight they experienced in painting, to the viewer.
The artists are Rohini Gooneratne Cooray, Vindya Prasadini Abeysiriwardena, Chandra Wanasundera and Janaki Sooriyaarchchi. Two of them have held exhibitions abroad and in Sri Lanka too.
Rohini Gooneratne Cooray has had the benefit of mixed cultures, having lived in Sri Lanka, Canada and the US. Rohini is self-taught, but had a four-year spell of training at the Ivor Baptist School of Art in Colombo in the 1960s. Being her own teacher, her style is uniquely hers and has been described thus: ".... heavy, thick pigment and impasto brings about an astounding consistency of concept and composition. With a fluent sense of style and organisation, she integrates an intricate interplay of lush luminosity and sensual colour. The personal, simple expression of the complex thought and morality of the artist, her insights and discoveries are confirmed and consolidated with the use of primary colours".
Chandra Wanasundera devoted his life to career, marriage and sharing the bringing up of his children. His innate talent was visible very early on. Under the guidance of Major Hardy at Trinity College, Kandy, he drew and painted with pleasure and carried away art prizes. He vaguely had this feeling of a missing factor in his life but never sat down and thought about it until on his 55th birthday he suddenly and vehemently declared he was going to paint.
He paints in oils and pastels, and experiments with acrylic, which medium he is now familiar with. His themes are rural Sri Lankan scenes and wild life. Being a photographer with a keen eye, he has often used his photographs to get the idea for a composition on canvas.
Vindhya Prasadini Abeysiriwardena is the 'baby' of the group. Not only is she much younger, but she also does not have the experience of having worked long at her art. But that is no basis for judging her work, since art is basically what you make of the talent in you, how you channel it to produce your work.
She had, unlike the other two, formal art education under Mudliyar Amarasekera and later Upasena Gunawardena. While a schoolgirl, she liked most her art classes at Musaeus College, Colombo.
Another young artist Janaki Suriyaarachchi will also be exhibiting some of her recent work at this exhibition.
The exhibition of the work of these four artists will be on at the Lionel Wendt Gallery from March 16 to 18.
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