ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday April 27, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 48

Making a statement with their creations

By Namali Premawardhana

Aliens! They’re crawling through the Barefoot Gallery; one thousand little aliens of different colours, shapes, sizes and textures. In through one window, down to the ground, all over the floor, back up the wall and out through the wooden trellis. Meet Sanjula’s ‘Fantasy Friends’ created using electronic bulbs, transistors, sequins, glass beads, wire and other trinkets. The result is an army of marching colour, which she hopes will appeal to children and adults alike.

Sanjula Karunarathna is one of ten students displaying their visual art exhibits at the Barefoot Gallery from April 25 to May 4. Kingsley Gunatillake, Visiting Lecturer, Visual Arts and Performing Arts, University of Kelaniya brought this graduating class together to help them not only fulfil one of their degree requirements but also give them a taste of what the world holds for them.

Duminda Subhashana has been inspired by a personal experience of a disaster. ‘My Share of the Tsunami’ depicts the victims of the tidal-waves, worked with oil on the body parts of vehicles salvaged from the ruins of the disaster. I have left the salt and the corrosion on the vehicle parts just as they were,” he says, “because all of that is an essential part of the experience.”

Pretty and slim, Chithrapali Kumari also uses a personal theme in her creation; her figure. “I go out to buy clothes or food, and always consider my figure when I am doing this,” she says. Her aim is to display this obsession which the world has with the female figure.

The most personal creation at the exhibition, however, belongs to Krisantha Basnayake – whose images painted on glass bulbs depict parts of a dream he had of Aishwarya Rai. “I’m an avid fan of Aishwarya’s movies and English horror films,” he says, “I think it was a culmination of these movies that came to me in a dream one night.”

Amali Shrimani also uses dreams as her inspiration. Her ‘Cooked Dreams’ consists of ordinary saucepans with fashionably dressed women staring up at you from them. She wants a fashionable life but what tradition and her family offers is marriage and a life in the kitchen.

The current security situation is the theme of Chandani Hatharasinghe’s creation ‘Western Province’. Digital blow-ups of maps of the Colombo district are scattered with clothes - a stark reminder of how fear of a bomb dominates the lives of most people.
Nelika Lakmini has selected a global topic: environmental pollution. Of the ten exhibits, hers is the one which grasps more closely the traditional definition of art. Her oils on canvas depict heaps of rubbish and gaping faces, yet ironically it is the neatness that is most striking.

Patabendige Shyamali’s ‘Silent Protest’ uses baby cream bottled with detailed paintings and bits of writing connected with wires; blood. Little flower buds wrapped in gauze show how aborted children are suppressed, and the right to decide whether they live or not should be theirs to take.

Installations titled ‘Masochism’ bring out Sandun Weerasinghe’s disgust with pornography. Sixty compact disc cases (signifying sixty minutes of pornography) stand together, holding CDs cut out of computer mother-boards. Each CD depicts a semi-naked woman adorned (and sometimes censored!) by scorpions, cockroaches etc.

Dhammika Sirimanne’s creation is of detailed insects and she remembers how they spoke to her while she created them, each demanding that she use certain colours and materials for certain parts of its body.

Their exhibition at the Barefoot Gallery continues until May 4 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday – Saturday and 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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