ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday February 24, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 39

Seeing red, literally and metaphorically

The Colour Red, an exhibition of paintings by Marie Alles Fernando, from February 27 to March 2

By Tahnee Hopman

Travelling around Sri Lanka, her keen eye picks out special scenes which are jotted in a sketchbook that goes wherever she goes. The rough pencil sketches, complete with footnotes added for further detail, are soon converted into strokes of vibrant colour, capturing the essence of the scenes.

From the Market Scene at Pettah, to the colourful Vesak scene, Marie Alles Fernando’s art is distinctively Sri Lankan.“In fact Sri Lankan scenes are what inspire me the most,” she says. “I always feel the urge to capture in a painting, anything that is strikingly Sri Lankan, or has a Sri Lankan flavour to it.”

Painting had always been her favourite pastime. “My first inspiration came from my mother who was also an artist, and in 1972, we put together the first ever mother and daughter art exhibition.” Trained by the late Ivor Baptiste and Prof. Douglas Amarasekera, Ms. Fernando has been exhibiting the world over.

Marie Alles Fernando

Her upcoming exhibition- The Colour Red, will open at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery on February 27 at 6 pm. The Chief Guests will be Mohan and Ruki Tissanayagam. The exhibition will be on until March 2, daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be a launch of greeting cards, showcasing some of the exhibits.

“This exhibition of Sri Lankan themes is all about colour and how it influences the viewer and the colour next to it,” explained Mrs. Fernando, describing her fascination with red as the reason for featuring it.

While red is considered to be an auspicious colour, as it gives off a sense of strong, positive energy, it is also said to ward off any negative vibes that may be directed at a person. Fourteen large paintings and around ten or more small paintings will be on display. Each painting has varying amounts of red; some are predominantly red, and others have just a little of it, that the viewer would have to search for.

Her expressionist style captures the beauty and simplicity of scenes both rural and urban. Rather than detail, it is the colours used that breathe life into the scenes. Even a noisy, dusty, bustling market place like Pettah is made to look beautiful, because every little bit of colour is appreciated.

“I feel that the paintings on exhibit need to be viewed carefully and experienced,” she says, adding that after seeing the paintings, viewers would see red differently.

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