Mirror Magazine
22nd April 2001
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Expression through colour

Designing involves lots of sketching and drawing, so it hardly comes as a surprise when a designer turns to art.

"Myriad of Colour' is the name of the exhibition that two artistic sisters will hold at the Lionel Wendt Gallery from April 27 to 29. The two who are exhibiting together for the first time are Sugandhi Edirisinghe and Purnima Abeyratne.

Purnima is better known to Mirror Magazine readers as the creative force behind 'Inspirations', the haute couture dress boutique. But here she has found inspiration in her sister Sugandhi's dedication. They painted as all kids do quite seriously, but Sugandhi, a housewife and proud mother of two, continued her interest in art. "She has been painting for many years while I've just been following art classes for the past two years," says Purnima.

The sisters credit their art master, a retired lecturer from the Heywood Faculty, W.A Ariyasena who teaches at the Sapumal Foundation with helping them find their individual styles.

"He encourages us to choose subjects related to our country and so you'll find that some of my work relates to Buddhism, temple scenes etc," adds Purnima.

But her career as a much-in-demand dress designer doesn't really leave much time for artistic pursuits and it's mostly over the weekends that she can take up her brushes and paints. Though it might seem like more work to some, for Purnima it's therapeutic. "Painting is stress relief and very addictive too," she says. "I don't know what I would do if I couldn't paint. It's a wonderful way of expressing your inner feelings."

Noms a la Norman

By Norm(an) de Plume

"What's with the name?" is one question frequently asked by the few who know my mild-mannered true self. With great patience, I explain that 'nom de plume' is French for 'Pen name' and 'Norman' is a pun on the word. Pretty original huh? Not really, I got it off an Archie comic. And while I explain this I always make it a point to display my knowledge of the French language which, in reality, is limited to a few swear words and the 'invitation'.

Leaving aside the confessions, its quite amazing what a name can tell us. My friend BigNose has a pretty interesting real name. It's supposed to mean 'lion', but literally it means 'hairy one'. Needless to say, we prefer the latter. Interpretation is quite crucial, even in things we take for granted. Take for instance the classic "Wind in the Willows". For those of us who are in the know, it brings to mind the adventures of Toad and Co. But for the untrained mind, it could very well be the title of a documentary on the flatulence of picnickers.

At the other extreme, there are people who are only concerned about the sound quality of the name, and don't give two hoots about what it means. They really should though. For example, my cousin was admiring the name Kimber (some soap-opera character methinks) and wishing she had that name. I took great delight in pointing out to her that Kimber might sound lovely, but in Sinhalese, it refers to that part of the body you sit on. So much for that.

But when it comes to names, the Sinhala cinema really takes the cake. A recent survey on the movie 'Hi Baby Hi' indicated that the initial reaction of most people to the title was "??????" I'm quite puzzled too about the upcoming film "Jack and Jill". Somehow, I don't think it will be an epic about a boy and a girl who went up a hill to fetch a pail of water...you know how it goes. But for all we know it might be a sensitive social commentary, portrayed by Jack meeting a water tax collector at the well and being so indignant at the infringement of his rights that he takes a tumble. But I suppose that's the beauty of some Sinhala films - you have no idea what the film is about when you go in. (Occasionally, you find out by the time you walk out)

While English films are somewhat better in this respect, it's balanced out by the goofy names of some pop bands. Take for instance the Crash Test Dummies - not the most vocal sounding, but they did have a couple of good songs. And at least they named their songs fittingly - 'mmmm mmmm mmm' is just the kind of song you'll expect from a dummy; just don't ask me what the Goo Goo Dolls and Limp Bizkit should sing. 'What's in a name?' asked the poet. Quite a lot, it seems.

Comments, hints.......anything telling me to take my foot out of my mouth write to: Norm(an) de Plume Mirror Magazine C/o The Sunday Times No. 8, Hunupitiya Cross Road Colombo 2 Email: norman_deplume@hotmail.com
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