The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Bringing out the soul of a simple people

Jomo Uduman shares his thoughts about his cousin Yasmin Buckman’s third solo exhibition “Darkness into Light” that will be held at the Sapumal Foundation, Barnes Place, Colombo 7 on July 7 and 8

I was so happy to hear that Yasmin has finally decided to surface again, exhale and blow bubbles our way, with another exhibition of her wonderful paintings.

Buffalo Keeper

Although born into a conservative Muslim family, Yasmin has managed to creatively balance her urge to paint and live the life of a true artist, without disturbing too much the sensitive fabric of her social and religious obligations.  Apart from all this, she lost Zaman, the love of her life three years into her marriage, and then nurtured and brought up her only son Mirshad and rolled him into an outstanding rock musician.

She attributes the discovery of her creativity with paint to Winitha Fernando, her art teacher at Methodist College.  She has only exhibited twice so far, and that too after a few fire crackers were lit under her.  She lives in Kandy with all her paintings, dreams, schemes and bucket list.

I have not had the opportunity to see her newer or not so new paintings as she skilfully conceals them while drumming up various excuses about them being unfinished and perhaps needing a dash of flaming red  or violet to hide the turquoise peeping out from the foliage or the clouds.

But I have seen her older paintings. In these paintings, Yasmin without doubt captures the true emotions, empowerment and hopelessness of the people in them. She has surely seen their pain, their will to survive and forbearance in spite of their obvious poverty.

“Man with Buffaloes” is a stunning painting of man amidst beast with rope draped  and dangling around him, holding them back or setting them free.

“Displaced” can be either a post tsunami or a war zone moment. Children in the midst of two determined mothers with ghostly shadows of human anguish and destruction hovering around them: easily one of her best.  “Fisher Boy” is a wonderful profile of a boy with his catch and tattered hat.  So truly Sri Lankan.

What’s interesting (and intriguing) is her sometimes spontaneous forays into the surreal world which may give us a glimpse of her other Buckman side.   Art lovers! honour her simplicity and originality with your presence at her exhibition – you will not regret it.

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