The simple lifestyle of the average, rural woman becomes infused with radiance through the use of a diverse colour scheme under Iromie Wijewardena’s deft touch. A keen observer of moods, emotions, and of course the strengths of the rural women folk, Iromie unfolds aspects of their lives on a broader canvas.
An artist who has gained international stature with many local and international exhibitions behind her, Iromie is preparing to hold her 14th solo painting exhibition from July 22 to 24 at the Harold Peiris Gallery of the Lionel Wendt in Colombo.
This upcoming exhibition will feature 26 paintings from her 2009-2010 collection drawn on the theme of women which she says has been her subject for quite a while although she started off as a landscape painter and then switched to temple mural paintings before focusing on women a few years ago.
Her paintings are characterised by her daring use of colour. She is never scared of handling a range of colours, she agrees. “Colour has always been my strong point; I can handle multiple colours in one composition. I do line drawings in black and white but I prefer to work in multi colours as it gives some freshness to the painting,” she says adding that since the themes that she touches on are often mundane, the use of bold colours gives them more vibrancy. She uses oils on canvas most often though there are quite a few paintings done with mixed media and some line drawings.
Whenever Iromie travels out of Colombo, she takes her sketch book with her to make lightning sketches of the rural women she encounters. Pointing out a painting of women making pottery she says her idea is to bring out their talents and strengths.
Iromie graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in painting, textile designing and printing at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies- University of Kelaniya and won a scholarship to Wilson College USA. Having won many awards such as the Toyp Award for Art-Ten Most Outstanding Young Persons’ Award from the Sri Lanka Jaycees in 1986, the Zonta Award – Woman of Achievement’ for Fine Arts and Designing in 1998, Iromie has served on many distinguished panels such as Ceylon Society of Arts Executive Committee, Painting and Sculpture panel of the Arts Council of Sri Lanka, etc. Some of her paintings are permanently displayed at notable buildings- the State Guest House- Visumpaya, Josip Broz Tito Gallery, Yugoslavia, Army Headquarters, Colombo, the Presidential Collection, Lotus Lounge, Colombo International Airport, Katunayake etc.
Iromie’s exhibition will be open to the public from July 22 – 24 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.