a colourful theory
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s concepts
of colour will unfold at a fabric exhibition by Chandramani Thenuwara
A magnificent realm of colour was unveiled in the seventeenth century
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the greatest poet, playwright, novelist
and essayist in the German language. Chandramani Thenuwara, Visiting
Lecturer at the University of Moratuwa, incorporates the essence
of Goethe’s thoughts on colour in her unique pieces of handwoven
fabrics which will be on display at an exhibition at the Goethe
Institute between January 27 and February 11.
reformulated the theory of colour in an entirely new way. Apart
from Newton’s explanation of colour as a physical problem,
he realised that what we see of an object depends upon the object,
the lighting and our perception. His experiments with prisms and
other optical devices helped to support his view that light and
dark were inseparable and that colours are the product of their
Thenuwara was first introduced to this fascinating study by Professor
Senguptha of the Indian Institute of Technology when she began lecturing
at the Open University of Sri Lanka, to students of textile technology.
Having been trained in the methodology of education through art,
which was to use art as a medium of expression to develop one’s
personality and sensitivity to the surrounding world, such formal
theories were new to her. Embarking on a voyage of discovery, she
decided to weave the concepts she was to teach, to make them concrete
to her students.
the time, she was working as a Textile Designer for the Department
of Small Industries’ design centre, which gave her access
to the most skilful of weavers, as well as the freedom to explore
her creativity to its fullest potential, which she feels would not
have been possible if she had been in the market oriented private
examined the works of Johannes Itten, a German scholar who studied
the master works of Goethe and developed a basic course on form
and colour for the famous Bauhaus founded by Walter Gropius in the
1920s. One of the chief features of Itten’s contribution is
considered to be the study of colour contrast.
double weave medium weight fabric structures, which form the core
of this exhibition, are from her personal collection. The skilfully
woven pieces are representations of the theory, with the spectrum
colours, or the colours of the rainbow, outlined in white or black,
with the opposite effect on the other side of the fabric. The fabrics
also show what happens to our perception when the proportions of
black and white change. Other creations include fabrics with the
so called ‘cool colours’-purple, blue and green, fabrics
with the ‘warm colours’-red, orange and yellow, and
black and white on reversible fabrics, reminding us of Goethe’s
famous statement, “We may learn about our world as we may,
but it will always have a day and night side.” This theme
of spectrum colour contrast with black and white has also been extended
by her to lightweight fabrics such as sarees and dress fabrics.
a time when the glamour and lucrativeness of fashion designing has
attracted many students, Ms. Thenuwara feels that it is a great
pity that there is no textile designing degree course available
in Sri Lanka. “A good job is defined by the personal satisfaction
and growth it provides rather than the money you make. For a designer
freedom to do what you want is more important than money, and young
people in the field must get their priorities straight.”
hopes that the exhibition will lead more people to discover the
wonderful world revealed by Goethe and inspire students of arts
as well as sciences to work with colour. With all the technological
advances, especially Information Technology, this world can be discovered
in so many more fascinating ways, she says.
programme of the German Cultural Centre of Colombo, sets out on
one side to illustrate Goethe’s large interest in the natural
sciences and particularly his work on colours by screening a 52
minute documentary titled ‘The Light, the Dark and the Colours’,
and on the other side to present Chandramani Thenuwara’s unique
works of art with the application of Goethe’s theories. A
presentation CD will be available in the library.
of 4 generations
family exhibition featuring the work of four generations of the
Fernando family from Moratuwa will be held at the West Hall of the
National Art Gallery on January 28 and 29.
exhibition is being held in memory of the late Anne Austilo Martino
(nee Fernando) who excelled in art and was trained in oils and pen
painting on glass.
talent was inherited by her daughters Ingrid Fernando, Chithranganie
Fernando and Jean Boulton, her grandchildren Dr. Lakmal Peiris,
Shalini Wilson, Heshan Fernando, Susith Perera, Dilshani Perera,
Michelle Warne, Niroshini Silva, Georgina Warne and Joanna Martino-Boulton
and great grand-children Anjali Fernando, Shovana Perera, Kamaal
Williams and Serene Williams. There will be a variety of work from
water colours to photography, sugar craft and wood carvings on display.
Lakmal Peiris, a professional guitarist will provide music at the
strikes high at Covent Garden
By Varunika Hapuwatte Ruwanpura
As Pamina with Sarastro in Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’
Kishani Jayasinghe has carved a niche in a field that few Sri Lankans
have ventured into, winning a coveted contract with the Royal Opera
House in Britain.
is one of four singers chosen from over 500 international applicants
for the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme run by the Royal Opera
House at Covent Garden.
a brief holiday in Melbourne in December 2005, she spoke of her
excitement at being selected as the soprano for the programme. “Applicants
flew in from all over the world,” she said. Thirteen finalists
were picked after a rigorous auditioning process and of these, only
four were chosen for the Jette Parker programme, one of each voice
is the first South Asian on the programme and probably the first
Sri Lankan ever to be contracted to sing opera at Covent Garden.
The contract is for a two-year period beginning in September 2006.
is the most recent of Kishani’s long list of musical achievements.
She previously won scholarships from the Royal Academy of Music
in Britain in 2002 to 2006, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust
and the Wingate Foundation to name a few. In addition she has also
won many prizes for her singing and acting ability both in Sri Lanka
and Britain such as the Royal Academy of Music – Silver Medal
for Musical Excellence (UK) in 2005 and the Isabel Jay Operatic
Prize - Royal Academy of Music (UK) in 2004.
Anne David, one of Sri Lanka’s most respected and well known
choral directresses was Kishani’s first singing teacher. “Your
initial training is everything,” Kishani stressed, saying
her early training with Ms. David had given her a grounding in vocal
skills. So much so that her vocal coaches at the Royal Academy had
commented on the quality of her early musical training.
was an exciting and eventful year for this young musician. Besides
winning this contract, she also performed at recitals at St Martin-in-the-Fields,
the Chichester Festival and at the Barbican Hall, all in Britain
where she is based. In November 2005 she was invited to sing at
the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting - Gala Concert at the
opera house in Malta.
is obviously an exceptionally gifted young lady. But talent alone
is not enough. As I watched her talk about what she hopes to achieve
this year, it became clear how focused and goal-oriented she was.
This year looks even more eventful as she takes up her training
at the Royal Opera House. “The image of the opera singer is
changing,” she explained. “Singing skills alone do not
make a successful opera singer anymore.”
and the other young singers will be set a rigorous training schedule
that focuses on improving their physical stamina and dramatic skills
as well as singing ability. “We’ll only be given about
four weeks off,” she smiles. Opera, after all, is as much
about acting as it is about singing. Combined training sessions
with the Royal Ballet will also be part of their personal development.
the end of the two year contract, it is hoped that the programme
participants will have gained a robust training that enables them
to secure a position as the “principal artist within an international
opera house”, Kishani said.
her schedule being very tight for this year, she hopes to do a solo
concert in Sri Lanka next summer.
also has a performance as the soprano actress in Night at the Chinese
Opera with the Royal Academy Opera lined up in March this year,
and the role of Leila, the Sri Lankan princess in Bizet’s
Pearl Fishers in May. 2005 was a ‘dream year’ for her.
and given her rising star, this year should be even better.