Making his own mark with landmarks

By Madhushala Senaratne

It doesn’t matter how ‘modern’ Colombo becomes, certain buildings and characters, like the old Parliament building, the Town Hall building, the Galle Face Hotel, the porter, the basket carrier and the bullock cart will be synonymous with the city.

Sanjeewee Senevirathna

“Reflective Landmarks”, Sanjeewee Senevirathna’s exhibition of watercolours from November 15 to 17 at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, brings to life these memorable landmarks.

The exhibition, as Sanjeewee explains, features around 35 paintings. “I picked a range of buildings and characters that are considered landmarks in Colombo and its suburbs. I’ve been fascinated by these colonial buildings from my younger days. Modern buildings may have emerged, but these old ones continue to occupy a special place in this society,” Sanjeewee says.

“These buildings can be viewed from different angles, for instance, political, social and cultural aspects. But they have witnessed all the changes that have taken place in society,” he explains. Sanjeewee says he has tried to present the buildings and characters in their original form, removing any unnecessary detail sometimes seen in photographs.

“I wanted to express architectural objects and people concisely, not in the descriptive and technical manner that we often see in photographs. I have removed any background elements that were not a part of their original form. I wanted to capture the main characteristics of the building, not the telephone boxes and poles around it,” he says.

Preparing for this exhibition was tough, says Sanjeewee, adding that he’s been planning it for the past five years, closely observing these landmarks and taking pictures.

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