on a voyage of muted beauty
Niloo Gunasekera has chosen beauty and simplicity for her solo exhibition.
She has concentrated on two leaves: the Bo leaf and the Ginko leaf.
Watercolours in earthy golden tones render homage to the Bo leaf
so venerated in Sri Lankan culture.
The Ginko leaf
with its graceful, almost heart-shaped form is something Niloo got
attracted to during her stays in Japan.
Dissanayake compared her paintings once to the Satori of the Japanese:
'with definite aesthetic motivations - in them the eye is everything;
the paint is delicate and refined, not thick-spread and rhetorical;
it was sufficient that colour just appears as apparitions, or as
These are works
that question the very idea of art as expression or making statements.'
Niloo has been
exhibiting at the annual Nawa Kalakaruwo - organized by the George
Keyt Foundation - since 1999.
She had her
first solo exhibition - remember those beautiful lilies? - at the
Lionel Wendt last year.
lt is a pleasure
to see this young artist going further on her chosen path without
getting distracted by a loud art scene.
And in her
own quiet way she seems to make a strong impression, as her paintings
always end up with someone...
on at the Havelock Place Bungalow till July 15.
Kala Korner by Dee Cee
Sinhala in the Cumaratunga style
Quiet, unassuming book publisher Gevindu Cumaratunga makes
a meaningful contribution to the Sinhala language in publishing
illustrious scholar Cumaratunga Munidasa's (his grandfather) highly
acclaimed works, from time to time. Among the latest publications
is the series of the early writings on the Sinhala alphabet edited
by Cumaratunga Munidasa in 1935 for the benefit of primary school
children. The publications are now available as a single book neatly
printed and titled 'Purana Sinhala Akuru Karanaya' .
The book contains
the edited versions of 'Hodiya', 'Nam Potha', Magul Lakuna', and
'Sakas Kata', which were popular readers in the olden days and Cumaratunga's
own work 'Akuru Sehella' to replace the more popular 'Gana Devi
Sehella' which he did not accept saying there were language errors
as well as ideas which he did not think were suitable for young
minds. In editing the earlier books, Cumaratunga has also included
helpful explanations for the benefit of students.
members of the Cumaratunga Foundation believe that at a time when
there is so much debate on the Sinhala language, this book will
help. It will also help to understand Cumaratunga's attitude to
language and what he thought about how the language should be used.
A large number of words have been meaningfully used as illustrations,
particularly in 'Nam Potha' where names of Sinhala kings and queens,
scholars both clergy and the laity as well as names of mountains,
rivers and places have been included.
For those keen
on studying correct pronunciation and writing, 'Purana Sinhala Akuru
Karanaya' is an ideal reference work.
Walking into the SLFI auditorium the other day to listen to
the Sarachchandra Memorial Orations, one was greeted with two banners
from commercial organizations across the stage, a few musical instruments
with microphones set up in front and the speaker's podium. Wonder
why the organizers, Sarachchandra Sahurjjana Sansadaya did not think
of having a banner right across the stage as a gentle reminder of
the event. The sponsors' banners could easily have been moved out
and hung somewhere else. As for the orations, Dr Ranjini Obeysekera
made an interesting study of Dr Sarachchandra's early criticism
and its impact. She introduced Sarachchandra as 'the most seminal
intellectual of twentieth century Sri Lanka' taking into account
his contribution as a teacher, as a critic, as a novelist, as a
dramatist and one who made path breaking innovations in the theatre.
"His impact covered a range of intellectual activities and
a range of younger creative writers and scholars came under his
influence", she said.
from a series of articles he had contributed to the magazine, 'Kesari'
in 1942 just after his return from Shantiniketan, under the title
'Through Shantiniketan Eyes', she pointed out that the articles
showed the quality of Sarachchandra's mind - the agility that can
make connections, the erudition that can bring together such unexpected
areas of knowledge and the wit that can put it all in perspective
with a lightness of touch.
Sarachchandra's contribution, she said that not only did he spell
out the task a good critic had to perform but he also spent three
decades of his intellectual life engaged in this exercise. "Sinhala
writers of the present owe a debt of gratitude to him for his foresight.
the rigidity of earlier criticism and making a case for flexibility
at a crucial point in the history of a modern nascent literature
he staked a claim for later generations of creative writers, enabling
them to experiment with a variety of forms and techniques. Nisadas
poetry of the fifties, the stream of consciousness novels of the
period were an immediate indirect result of this breakthrough in
summed up Sarachchandra thus: "Not only was he a scholar familiar
with many languages and literatures but he had that rare ability
to transform that knowledge, use it, fuse it, melt it, by his creative
genius into that rare and precious thing - a new 'traditional' art."