Gayan’s stories in strokes of colours

By Natasha Fernandopulle, Pix by J. Weerasekera

“I draw my inspiration from what I have been through in life, such as love, pain and anger,” says Gayan Prageeth Samaranayaka. The 29-year-old artist says he brings out this conflict between aspiration and fate, in the work he has presented at his first solo exhibition, now on at Paradise Road Galleries.

Gayan Prageeth Samaranayaka

What draws you to his work is how he uses around three to four different paintings and creates one big piece even though, individually they can be paintings on their own.

The main reason why he decided to piece together several small paintings was because the paint didn’t dry on time and the result was him developing this concept, he says. The paintings on exhibit are of a series as they almost tell a story.

Gayan has a degree (first class) in painting from the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo and it was around the time he left Ingiriya, where he was born, to come to Colombo to read for his degree that he started being moved by certain circumstances and things around him.

The war was something Gayan felt strongly against when he initially started studying art in university. He was deeply saddened by the loss of life.

He has presented his paintings at a number of exhibitions before, of which the most recent was in 2008 at the University of Visual and Performing Arts, titled ‘Expressions of Independence’ which was an exhibition of painting and photography.

Working for this exhibition, he dealt with the paroxysms between love, pain and anger focussing on the loss of love. Gayan says, “I paint my life and the figures that can be seen in the paintings are me. There are things I want to tell society,” he says adding, “What society sees is one thing but what is going on is another.”

He uses water colour, charcoal as well as acrylic for his paintings. Gayan spoke of the lecturers at university who helped him along the way and says that each of them influenced him through their varying techniques and concepts which he uses in his work. His work will be on display till May 12.

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