Jewellery using re-usable circuit boards; an architectural approach to fashion through spatial sequences; furniture constructed with cut-off pieces of wood - this is merely the tip of the iceberg of what can be expected at the Graduation Exhibition 2010 of the students of the Bachelor of Design course of the University of Moratuwa. With displays from five fields of specialization – fashion and textile, jewellery, ceramics, furniture, and graphic and communication design, it promises much in terms of creativity and innovation.
“The students select their own topics within their field. The exhibition showcases their progress through the four years, shows what they are capable of and what they can do for the country,” explains Ruwandika Senanayake, faculty member and fashion co-ordinator for the exhibition.
The aim of the exhibition is to generate awareness of the students’ capabilities and promote their products. “This is an exhibition which introduces new design ideas to Sri Lankan society. Through these innovative designs, others can get inspired. Viewers can meet the designers; ask design solutions from them to fulfil their requirements too,” says Niluka Wanigarathna, a fashion and textile design student.
The Bachelor of Design degree provides students an opportunity to obtain a holistic education and training in art, creativity, technology and marketing to meet the needs of their respective industries. The teaching process incorporates elements such as philosophy, concept, methodology, design, aesthetics, utility, quality and the marketability of the overall product.
Ruchira Dassanayake - “inspired from its rich constructional techniques” - revives the Sri Lankan art of ‘Gok’ through her project. “Various designers are influenced by Western ideologies in order to create something new. But our own country is abundant with fascinating inspirational art forms that could be used for fashion. Gok is an art form which died before it was exposed to the nation,” she says. “As one media is nourished by another, I took this opportunity to re-establish Gok art through fashion.”
As Sri Lanka produces garments on a large scale for international brands, the fabric which is left over after production (cut pieces) is usually rejected and discarded. One project included a casual wear collection for girls aged 18-25 using these discarded pieces of cloth.
Another striking fashion and textile design project based on conceptual design, incorporated elements such as depth of space, ambience, outline, the play of shadows and contours to create visually stunning imagery.
Jewellery designs incorporating lesser known stones such as serpentine and ‘kahanda’, discarded electronic components and copper and wood jewellery, designed to ease the pressure points of the body will also be on display at the exhibition. In the furniture section, student Amila Badungodage explained that most furniture designs were designed for a particular space or to provide a solution to a social problem. Exhibits included furniture inspired by birds, outdoor furniture for the Cancer Hospital, lifestyle furniture crafted with cut-off timber and beach furniture.
Chamindi Jayathri’s explains that her ceramic design project “is an attempt to create an overview of many inherent qualities of porcelain - especially its translucency. In this project, the translucent quality was highlighted and used for creative work by focusing on the varying thickness of clay and allowing different intensities of light to pass through the clay object.” Her design was experimental too, varying thicknesses and incorporating a mix of materials.
A student of graphics and communication design, Bimali Mudunkotuwa believes that the field of design is constantly developing in Sri Lanka. She affirms that though we possess a rich culture, we find it difficult to bring our own style to the table. Explaining that their degree aims to provide the students a strong base to encourage them to produce modern designs with an eye on tradition, “our aim is to bring innovative ideas with our own identity,” Bimali says.
She adds, “Our team (graphics and communication design) had mainly focused on strategy developing and communication designing, rather than product designs- they’re innovative designs of communication aiming towards problem solution.”
Graphic and communication design projects on display at the exhibition include campaigns to support rehabilitation of drug addicts, raising awareness on the prevention of non-communicable diseases, promoting Sri Lankan rice among teenagers and a breast cancer awareness campaign.
The Graduation Exhibition 2010 of the students of the Bachelor of Design course of the University of Moratuwa will be open to the public from May 8 – 10 at the National Art Gallery from 9 a.m. – 7p.m.