Still 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.

Professor S.B. 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 disappearance.

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...

'Leaves' is 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.

Gevindu and 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.

Remembering Sarachchandra
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.

Quoting extensively 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.

Evaluating 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.

In opposing 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 criticism."

Ranjini Obeyesekera 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."

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