gives life and colour to the dasa raja Dharma
By Dhananjani Silva
The veteran artist puts finishing touches to the pandal.
Jayasiri Semage, is getting ready to celebrate the forthcoming Vesak
festival on a grand note –this being the 2550 Buddha Jayanthi
The veteran artist has embarked on a special mission this Vesak
season to design, paint and erect a Vesak pandal depicting the dasa
The pandal is a gift to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by the Chairman
of Nawaloka Group of Companies, Deshabandu H. K. Dharmadasa.
on creations of ancient architecture of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa
periods, Semage uses traditional designs such as the sun and moon,
liyavel, liyapota and hansapoottu to adorn the 11 frames of this
gigantic pandal which is to be erected near Parliament.
to Semage, about 30,000 bulbs will adorn the pandal for which the
electrical designs are done by A. B. Ariyadasa. “This is an
unusual pandal as it presents the dasa raja dharma. Most of the
other pandals narrate Jathaka tales.
records prosperous times when the country was ruled according to
this dasa raja dharma which was preached by Lord Buddha to all the
kings and His disciples. Lord Buddha taught the kings how they should
rule the country with the guidance of dasa raja dharma.
significance to President Rajapaksa is that he too is a follower
of the concept of dasa raja dharma,” Semage explained. “It
took me about two months to paint this pandal and special oil colours
were used for the designs,” he said.
feet tall and 55 feet wide, the pandal depicts the world engulfed
by fire at the bottom and on top is a statue of Lord Buddha putting
out the flames with holy water. Semage has designed and erected
over 50 pandals both in Sri Lanka and abroad.
cards for Sambuddha Jayanthi 2550
monks sometimes used a 'jangama vihara' (mobile vihara) when they
preached a sermon in a place away from the temple. The mobile vihara
had colourful paintings depicting the Buddha's life. The Buddha
was prominent in the paintings, thus creating 'saddha' in the minds
of the devotees.
in the form of a little cupboard with doors adorned with paintings
too, the mobile vihara could be easily moved from place to place.
Before the sermon began, it would be opened and displayed, thereby
creating a mini-temple atmosphere.
vihara found in the Nagolla Raja Maha Vihara, close to Kurunegala
belonging to the 18th century depicts the 'soovisi vivaranaya' -
the Bodhisatva receiving benediction from the 24 Buddhas. This is
among renowned photographer Gamini Jayasinghe's collection of temple
murals in his forthcoming book 'Sri Lankan Buddhist Art - Post-Classical
Revival' devoted to the Kandyan school of painting.
has also selected it for use in one of 20 special greeting cards
released by Sarvodaya Vishva Lekha to commemorate the Sri Sambuddha
Jayanthi 2550 during Vesak this year.
a time when meaningless illustrations including pictures of film
stars are used in Vesak greeting cards, these cards set a new standard.
They are colourful and pleasing to the eye, yet meaningful and form
a fine collection of the 18th & 19th century temple murals.
Of the 20 cards, ten are from the Kandyan period temples while the
other ten are from the Kelaniya frescoes, picked from 'The Glory
of Kelaniya Murals', Gamini's third publication in the series 'Sri
Lankan Buddhist Art'. The text in these Vishva Lekha publications
is by journalist D.B. Kappagoda.
form of temple murals photographed by Gamini is the 'pethikada'
- paintings done on cloth. These are found in ancient temples and
are not generally displayed. The monks prefer to keep them rolled
up and stacked for safety, taking them out only on special occasions.
monks had the habit of taking these for 'bana' preachings and displaying
them before the audience. The cards depict selected murals from
Raja Maha Viharas at Rangiri Dambulla, Talava at Marassana, Kinihirikanda,
Bambaragala, Lankatilaka and Ridi Vihara. The cards with the Kelaniya
temple murals have been done as a tribute to the celebrated painter
Soliyas Mendis. This set of cards is a fitting memento of the celebrated
occasion commemorating the 2550th year of the passing away of the
Buddha and well deserves the backing of those interested in sending
greetings cards for the occasion.
feast from Alliance Francaise
By Tharangani Perera
In May and June, the Alliance Française will celebrate the
intrinsic richness of cultural diversity in music, theatre and cinema
through its Cultural Programme. The programme will comprise three
main elements: “Fête de la Musique”, “Italian
Cycle” by the Ciné Club and “Monsieur et Madame
O”, a French mime play.
de la Musique” celebrates cultural links between countries
and people through reciprocal passion for music. It takes place
each year on June 21, the day of summer solstice and welcomes the
participation of amateurs and professionals from various age groups.
main event of the evening will be a school choir competition at
Colombo’s New Town Hall, to be judged by amateur musicians.
Thereafter, amateurs and semi-professionals will alternate on an
open stage, where they may play a musical instrument, sing or dance.
Throughout the evening, music professionals will perform live. Meanwhile
a multimedia tour of Fête de la Musique will be organized
in Paris, which will enable Parisians to enjoy the live images of
the musical celebrations in Sri Lanka and many countries around
Wednesday evening at 6.30 p.m., the Ciné Club at Alliance
Française presents a new French film with English subtitles,
after which a discussion takes place within the friendly atmosphere
of the cafeteria.
Each month, the films are chosen according to a certain theme.
theme for the month of May is symbolic of the promotion of European
culture as it will represent French acting talent in Italian cinema.
On May 29 at the Bishop’s College Auditorium Colombo, Alliance
Française will present a new trend in French theatrical arts-
a play without words named “Monsieur et Madame O”. It
has been inspired by many different artistic styles such as mime,
contemporary dance, circus and even comic book art. Although the
overall tone of the play is quite humorous, it reflects universal
themes such as marriage, heaviness of old habits, routine and social
brings exotic touch to Galle Fort
new branch in the Galle Fort, on the corner of Pedlar and Church
Street is now open, making a colourful addition to Fort life.
The delightful building brilliantly renovated by Channa Daswatte,
was bought by Dominic Sansoni in 2003 with a vague notion of opening
a shop or a home. Lucky for visitors, a shop it is.
restored premises is charm personified, with a narrow corridor at
the back of the building which can be used as an escape route, a
perfect courtyard open to sky and stars ideal for sitting in and
viewing paintings on the wall.
riotous colour that is synonymous with Barefoot is vividly present.
Here one can expect to see items carefully chosen with the building,
space and visitor in mind. Sarongs, silk scarves, linen, cushion
covers, tablemats and napkins, sun hats, bags, toys are all beautifully
arranged for the taking. Victor, the manager, is the perfect host
for the shop.
from the signature Barefoot products known world over for their
juxtaposition of colour and rectilinear design - all the other elements
of the Colombo shop are here: The familiar paintings are hanging
on the walls, the excellent coffee table books focusing on Sri Lanka
and Style; and novels by Sri Lankans. Even, the possibility of opening
a café, is in place.