By Kavindi Abeysekera
The wood murals reveal a story of skill and devotion. Unbelievably
lively, their appeal goes beyond the sense of vision in its three-dimensional
Rathnasena Kodikara, chief project officer of art at the Aesthetic
Department of the National Institute of Education is the creator
of these murals. Having received his elementary and secondary education
at St. Mary’s College in Avissawella and Stafford College,
Colombo, he entered the Heywood College of Fine Arts to further
his artistic ambitions. After 15 years of government service as
an art instructor he left the country to work as a senior art instructor
in both Nigeria and Oman.
is his first wood mural exhibition. He has had nine other one-man
art exhibitions, exhibiting oil-paintings and has also won various
awards at all-island art competitions. “As an artist I am
not a realist, a modernist or an abstract painter. What I am aiming
at is the semi-abstract, the kind of art that anyone can comprehend
easily,” he says.
is inspired by the temple paintings of Sri Lanka and what he sees
as the rhythm embedded in them. But he is unique in the way he transforms
that rhythm to modern murals. Through these wood murals he tries
to infuse beauty and a religious flavour into the life of modern
man. His exhibition of wood murals will be held from August 25-29
at the Alliance Francaise Colombo from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. each day.
of young strokes
By Randima Attygalle
“The best of Kala Pola talent and that of young contemporaries
will be showcased at Nawa Kalakaruwo,” says Sita de Silva,
Secretary to the Board of Trustees of The George Keyt Foundation.
According to Mrs. de Silva, “selected art” will be the
key feature of Nawa Kalakaruwo which will display the creativity
of the emerging young artists from all corners of Sri Lanka, in
keeping with the vision of the Foundation– “giving opportunity”
joint artistic venture of the George Keyt Foundation and Ceylon
Tobacco Company Limited, Nawa Kalakaruwo will be open to the public
at the Harold Peiris Gallery of Lionel Wendt from August 23 to 28
from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
Deviating from Kala Pola’s unrestricted and ‘unjudged’
mediums of art, all work displayed at Nawa Kalakaruwo will be selected
pieces picked by a panel of judges. Commenting on this year’s
Nawa Kalakaruwo, Mrs. de Silva further says, “Nawa Kalakaruwo
will be a stepping stone to International Artists’ Camp which
is to be held later this year.”
fusion of abstract and realism is the medium of Priyantha Udagedera
who views Nawa Kalakaruwo as a platform which ‘unearths new
talent’, adhering to certain standards of art at the same
time. ‘Lovers’ will sigh on the canvas of Basil Cooray
who has employed masses of orange, blue and red acrylic.
selected art is the predominant feature of Nawa Kalakaruwo, the
base is that of a free and unrestricted mode,” says Basil
who feels that selecting of talent for Nawa Kalakaruwo from Kala
Pola is a positive gesture as it is a testing ground where a large
number of professionals and amateurs display their work.
of the Odissi dancers
By Smriti Daniel
Once upon a time, in the verdant land of Orissa in Southern India,
there resided a number of women of exceptional talent. They were
dancers of unsurpassed grace and were to be found performing in
the dozens of beautiful temples that dotted the countryside. They
would on occasion be found plying their art in the courts of kings
but most often they were Devadasis – dancing girls dedicated
to the temple and in the service of the gods.
were glorious times, when vitality, grace and sheer beauty were
found embodied in these women. They lived honourable lives, keeping
themselves chaste and pure as they considered themselves wedded
to their gods. But inevitably hard times came and their patronage
failed. The dancing girls and their art slowly sank into oblivion.
all was not lost, for a new breed of dancers emerged. Little boys,
so young and well made up that they could be mistaken for women,
carried on the traditions of Odissi. This school of Odissi dancing
came to be known as Gotipau – single boy. Odissi which as
one of the oldest surviving forms of dance could trace its roots
all the way back to the 1st century, was almost entirely eradicated
in India by the British colonialists and their anti-nautch (dance)
sentiments. Gotipau alone survived and then too only because it
was danced by males.
once the brides of the gods were now considered no better than comman
prostitutes. With no means of sustenance, the Gotipau dancers took
to the road with theatre companies, dancing in the interludes between
dramatic acts. Odissi had moved out of the temples and onto the
stage, and in the process had lost most of its respectability.
coming of independence to India was to dramatically alter this sorry
state of affairs, especially as many considered such artistic traditions
crucial to India’s new identity. By 1955, girls from respectable
homes were learning Odissi and it was once more considered a ‘classical’
characteristic triple bend pose or “tribhangi”, requiring
three bends at the neck, waist and knee reflecting exquisite grace
and flexibility was once more seen in dance halls across the nation.
Today Odissi is an internationally well known school of dancing
with many of its exponents winning international acclaim. One such
artiste is Smt. Ranjana Gauhar - the winner of several awards including
the prestigious Padmashree awarded by the President of India, the
Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini award as well as the Pali Bani award.
from her intense training in Odissi, Smt. Gauhar is also an accomplished
‘Kathak’ and ‘Manipuri’ dancer and has also
experimented extensively with ‘Chhau’. This fascinating
artiste is a Philosophy graduate and a holder of a Masters in English
Literature, in addition to being a film maker, teacher, choreographer,
actress and painter. She has travelled the world, making numerous
international audiences fans of her Odissi dance.
Gauhar, who was to perform along with her troupe, in Colombo and
Kandy as a part of the festivities planned for India’s 59th
independence day celebrations, cancelled both events on learning
of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar’s assassination.
a harvest of tradition and imagination
By Kavindi Abeysekera
“It is paddy-farming or rather the culture associated with
it that inspired me and provided the backdrop essential for my paintings.
The signs and the colours I have basically utilized have their roots
in that culture, which I am undeniably attached to,” said
the young artist who is busy preparing for his forthcoming exhibition
at the Paradise Road Galleries from August 24 to Sept. 14.
a way this experimental exhibition is an expansion of his university
thesis- agricultural life through the eyes of an artist. Lasantha
Chandana Kumara held a solo art exhibition at Dehiattakandiya and
a joint exhibition at the Havelock Bungalow Art Gallery, but this
is his first solo show. After finishing his O’Ls at the Lihiniyagama
Maha Vidyalaya Lasantha entered the Dehiattakandiya Central College,
where a teacher Wijaya Hettiarachchi inspired him to enter the university
to study art.
the Heywood College of Fine Arts in Colombo he found sufficient
nourishment for his artistic talent. At present Kumara is the art
instructor at the Zonal Education Office in Dehiattakandiya.
signs that he incorporates into his paintings-“Alusan”
or “ash signs”-are a part of an almost moribund tradition
attached to the farming community. According to this tradition the
farmers draw signs on the threshing-floor to get protection. Kumara
fuses these signs- sickle, bow, cow, drums etc- along with his own
imagination. He even uses shapes and designs found at the paddy
fields in his paintings. Thus it is not just novel in every way
but both modern and experimental art that Kumara presents us.