A brush with bliss

A series of paintings, continued from an earlier period in his life. Some 25 works, some so subtle, they seem almost illusory, others more defined. All touched by a tangible aura of serenity. Anup Vega, the artist is at Paradise Road where an exhibition of his paintings is now on.

A slightly built man, heavily bearded, dressed in a cotton kurta, he joins his hands in traditional greeting as we walk in, in the midst of a torrential downpour.

'Remaining Apart' is aptly being held during the Vesak season and no explanation is needed as to why this is so, a look at his works will suffice. Vega is not one of those artists given to discoursing at length as to what inspires him. "Nothing really heavy here," he says, preferring to just add that his was a mood of bliss when he did most of these works.

A self-taught artist, Vega is essentially one in touch with his inner self, content to 'let the current take him' on his journey through life.

Vega has been living in Gunepana, a tranquil village off Kandy these past few years. Kandy, he believes is 'a special place' where he can live as an artist, something not quite possible in his book in Colombo.

He says he is more relaxed, more peaceful, in the company of good friends, some like the artist Rajhu, who have helped him bring his art more into the public eye.

One is inclined to think that even for one so uncluttered by the pressures and tedium of city life, as Anup Vega is, retreating won't be quite so easy, as his very special talent becomes more evident.

Anup Vega’s exhibition at Paradise Road Galleries continues till May 31

Feminine feel|
By Rahju
An exhibition of Rasika's paintings and brush drawings are on at Gallery Mountcastle, Arunachalam Avenue, off Horton Place, Colombo 7 till May 12.

When Rasika and I first met, she was drawing tiny little things that would freak me out. One, because they were so perfectly beautiful to me, the other because they were so ephemeral. She would doodle them on a serviette, back of a ticket, scrap of paper..... anything, and then toss it away! And I'd be desperately trying to salvage them for my collection.
Over the past couple of years, these works have grown in size. Using brush and acrylic, on canvas and handmade paper, and with the introduction of colour, Rasika effortlessly wields bold lines with a calligraphy that embodies both strength and gentleness. This is the most interesting part to me; how much feminine feel comes across in these paintings. The imagery springs spontaneously from the Indian idiom: Shiva/Shakti, lovers, the ascetic, the erotic... They are all part of Rasika's internal sense and appear on their own. In the process of their making, or emerging, they take on the dimension of devotion. In that sense, Rasika's paintings are part of the continuation of 'bhakti' paintings. And that is the most prominent emotion one can gather from them; Devotion to Love, for the Love of Devotion.

Earthy colours of male energy
By Esther Williams
The theme for Druvinka's forthcoming exhibition at the Barefoot Gallery (from May 12 to June 1) 'The force of Shiva,' symbolized by the Siva lingam that is worshipped by the Hindus. Hence, the 'lingam,' abstractions of the male energy of Shiva, dominates her present series of paintings.

A Buddhist by religion, Druvinka explains her choice of subject. "At the time I was carrying my baby, when the moods and changes in life occurred, I was influenced by this."

Done in subdued earthy colours either on large canvas or miniature size, the semi-abstract forms of the lingam are the focus of the entire collection of paintings on display. The painter / printmaker uses a mixed media - mainly Nepalese bamboo paper on canvas.

This is an old miniature technique; wo-rked with transparent colours, layer after layer.
The artist carries out the whole process on her own - stretching of canvas, pasting and finally painting. She places the material flat on the floor and works around it to get the desired effect. "It is a life circle!" she says of her art, as it can be viewed from different angles.

In the midst of contemporary preoccupation with the novelty and the new in arts, Druvinka has over the years developed this unique style that was also depicted in her previous work on the refu

gee series and the karmic life forces series. It was at the Kala Bhavan at Santiniketan, a Tagore University (in West Bengal, India) that Druvinka gathered these techniques while studying for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons.) in Painting and Post Diploma Painting.

She had ample opportunities here to experiment in all mediums - sculpture, design, graphic printmaking and painting that she eventually specialized in.

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