Inner Sounds

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“Self portraits are unusually very beautiful almost all the time and I always wondered why this was. Is that really how we see ourselves or is it another’s perception of how we look? I wanted to look deep inside and really take a look at how I saw myself. I wanted to first make a connection with myself before making a connection with the society. That is why I think inner sounds and emotions are very important. That is the ideology and inspiration of this exhibition,” explained Manoranjana Herath.

His most recent and 18th solo exhibition was held at the Barefoot Gallery earlier this year. The exhibition included 20 paintings and 15 sculptures.

I find that it isn’t easy to talk things out. I know i’m not the only one when I say it’s difficult to open up and speak about how you feel and what you think wholeheartedly. This is the fault in us as humans. We keep so much to ourselves even without realizing it. Herath agrees and admits that he himself is much like that. “What we feel and think inside, is what I have tried to depict in my work. I feel that the more the world moves forward, the more we keep to ourselves. That constriction and limitation of emotions are depicted in terms of the dark colours I’ve used.”

Herath’s self portraits say so much with little. A hundred faces within a single face. Constrictions within constrictions. This is a day to day matter. He explained that he has the habit of adding other mediums to his paintings as well as actual photographs of himself from the age of 12 to make it seem more appealing. I find that this way, he reaches out a step further than usual and viewers would be able to connect deeper. He says the fact that his portraits are dark and grey and also because people are not honest and trustworthy any longer. There is a lot of dishonesty, distrust and falsehood in the world, and so there are deep shadows in his work to depict this.

“My sculptors are also self imaged makes. I’ve used different materials on them as well to send out different ideologies and messages. In one I’ve placed a fish bowl at the base. The water shows the reflection of the sculpture. I find that even when someone is hiding something, there is always a way of finding out what’s deep inside, even through their reflection. One other sculpture has arrows pointed towards the centre. The heart is visible. This can be interpreted in many different ways. I like to think that the arrows are struggles and hurdles in life; all aimed at breaking the heart. So in this way, all of what is exhibited tells a story; a story of the inner sounds within themselves and within ourselves.”

Herath began his work on this exhibition as a project. He admits that he often draws sketches of his sculptures so that he has a rough idea as to how he wants it to turn out. “I have a visual image of it in my mind and ocassionally it does come out the way I want it too. But sometimes, when I look at a finished sculpture I have different thoughts running in my head and then I change the look of it,” he said. To him, art is a form of expression. It was his creative inclination during his early adulthood years that steered him towards the art stream and led him to becoming a senior lecturer of the Department of Sculpture at the University of Visual and Performing Arts in Colombo today.

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“The art of sculptures isn’t for everyone. Each artist has a different passion within art itself. For me, I simply found myself steering down this path and for what reason I quite do not know. I love that I can use my hands in the uttermost manner to say how I feel within myself. It gives me a lot of freedom; the kind that sometimes I find difficult to put into words. I am able to make someone think, ponder, smile, be angry, hurt and laugh with what I can create. That to me is the greatest achievement as an artist.”

**As published in the Ceylon Today newspapers**

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The New Sri Lankan House

The New Sri Lankan House

Of course Sri Lanka is a tropical island and hence, houses should be built accordingly, right? The New Sri Lankan House – a book – highlights these aspects and houses built for the tropics. It is written by Robert Powell, of which the essays are by David Robson and photos by Sebastian Posingis. It was launched recently at the Barefoot Gallery and will also be launched on 20 May in London, UK.

In conversation with Powell

“It was around 2013 when the idea of this project came into hold. I’d already written a few similar books on houses in other countries in South East Asia, and it was only a natural choice to also feature Sri Lankan houses in the same manner. The introductory essays were taken over by Robson and I took over writing the rest of the pieces for each house, whilst Posingis took the photographs.”

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Powell

 

While conversing on the subject of seeing each of these houses to feature, Powell admitted that the trio literary travelled from house to house. “We were given a list at first; this included recommendations for our book by architect C. Anjalendran. We also received a couple of recommendations from the Bawa Trust, architect Channa Daswatte and a few other people I know. As is known, it really isn’t easy to identify houses and those that fit the criteria for this book, and so we looked at the choices laid in front of us and cut the list down further to a total of 25. Once this was sorted out, we simply head off on the road to visit each of them,” he said.

Kadju House
Kadju House

“It took us about a year in all to really put together everything we needed. Going from house to house isn’t as easy as it sounds. I actually put together a map and we worked our way through one by one. It also took us another year to work on the photographs and select what we wanted for the book. I have to admit that the houses featured include that of three completed by foreign architects and the rest by local architects. It also makes it right to feature the work of Geoffrey Bawa first and then move on towards the others. So for those who have a misconception that the book is entirely on the work of Bawa, they are wrong. The book also focuses on many fresh and young architects who are making a name for themselves. There is a link however because some of the featured architects did work with Bawa initially before moving out and practising architecture on their own.”

Thisara Thanapathy
Thisara Thanapathy

“To be quite frank, this is the first book of its kind that includes the names and work of these young architects. Now when I say young, I mean those aged between 30 and 55. They are immerging architects who have their own practices. This book hence creates a lot of awareness and makes these names well known on an international aspect,” he added.

Houses for the tropics

Basically, the criteria for the houses that the team was looking to feature in the book was simple. The houses had to be made for the tropics being on an island. Tropical houses built ideally are surrounded by lushness and have a open sort of aspect to them. They had to be well oriented, must not have chopped down trees in order to create the space, rather it should be that the house were built around the trees. Also there should be little or less use of glass. Now, of course not all the houses fit into all the criteria but meet the idea of being tropical in some way or the other. The book includes house that have been categorized into four – country houses, coastal houses, houses on the edge and city houses.

Amila deMel
Amila deMel

“The New Sri Lankan House is a very special book. I must also mention that the people living in these houses were also very amicable and accommodating. When visiting each of these houses, it was also important for us to be able to see the entire space in all lighting and in all its glory, so it was kind of vital for us to also spend a night; to be able to see the space at dusk and also at morning break. The owners were very hospitable and offered to allow us a night’s stay and it was truly a pleasure. You see, because architecture is not for discussing or talking; one must be able to see it from their own eyes and be able to touch and feel too. We were also very fortunate that the weather was good throughout our journey,” said Powell.

Palinda Kannangara
Palinda Kannangara

What I find most remarkable and a pleasant addition is that Sri Lankan architecture has a connection to the earth. One is always close to the earth. The way that houses are built, you are able to hear the sound of birds chirping in the morning, the lush sway of leaves on trees when a wind blows by and if you’re close to water, the sound of lapping. “So, the connection with ecology is something I find that other houses in other parts of South East Asia does not have. This sensitivity is what makes these houses unique and certainly one of a kind. The people of Sri Lanka are always grounded in this manner, and I also feel that they are all experiencing a new beginning – not with just a new political era but also with this book in terms of it being the first of its kind.”

Channa Daswatte
Channa Daswatte

The New Sri Lankan House is available for sale at the Barefoot Gallery

**As published in the Ceylon Today newspapers**

***Images courtesy Barefoot Gallery and Posingis***

Lunch at Barefoot Gallery

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Another month into the year and another lunch date with a good friend 😀 Seriously, time is freaking me out because it seems to go by so fast… let’s leave that for a separate blog post and another day! So, back onto lunch with my gal, we decided to go to the Barefoot Gallery Cafe. This is one of my most favourite spots in the city purely because they also have a gallery that I frequently visit (every month).

I hadn’t been there for lunch in sometime but I do remember their food being super fresh, tasty and well presented. I picked a fresh lime juice and a healthy vegetable cheese bread sandwich for my meal – this included tomatoes, garden leaves, aubergines, celery and tomato. It’s not something I’d usually go for but it was super flavourful and I enjoyed it very much.

Xoxo

A little sunshine :D

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Bought myself a new sunshine yellow notebook from the Barefoot Gallery. I run through notebooks like baby’s on diapers so I ran over to Barefoot cuz they have some of the most colourful ones in town. This one cost me just Rs. 675. That’s less than $6. Of course it took me a good while to pick this because there are multiple choices in terms of colours. Anyways. .I’m happy with it and can’t wait to put it to use 🙂

Xoxo

Anjanam

Anup Vega. Exhibition 2014

“It means light watching,” he said. I sat there a little confused. I’m not always confused when it comes to art. The he further explained, “it’s about knowledge that seeps through light. A clear mind, enlightenment and new knowledge of things.” Yes, okay that made sense.

Anjanam is different. At first, all you’d notice are coloured strokes on a framed canvas. But then, as Anup Vega explained, the light shines through. There is a great deal that is unknown and in the dark, very much like the man himself until you question, probe and take a double look to get to know more and finally find the light. To be quite frank, he’s a humble soul. His work therefore is just as humble and honest.

Anup Vega. Exhibition 2014

“I find that although this is a hobby to me, it’s my safe escape and my passion. I believe that one should not do anything if they are not passionate about what they are doing. What is the point in that? There is no time and schedule for me to paint and find something inspirational to relate onto a canvas. When there is light inside of me, in my mind and in my heart, I paint. It keeps me happy. I am not always sure of what I want to do or what I want to paint but that’s really not important. It’s not important to think too much about something, even painting. It must comes from the heart and one must let it be at that,” he said.

Some of the paintings look like as if they are of landscapes. Scattered bits of grass perhaps, deep blue skies, what looks like water lilies floating, and beautiful sunsets. One painting in particular is painted on three sheets of paper. When questioned about why he did this, was this a concious choice (as in part of the idea of the painting) he replied, “unfortunately my answer has nothing to do with the idea behind the image. I wanted to paint something a bit large and didn’t have sizable paper. Paper that large would have cost me a lot but instead I painted on three sheets of paper because it’s much cheaper.”

Anup Vega. Exhibition 2014

The humble man. It rings in the head after a walk around the gallery and a light conversation with Vega. Then there are a series of painting that somewhat look like self-portraits, or are they? The artists himself cannot say. On some canvases, the images look disturbed and then on others they look more proportioned and clear. “It’s a clear reflection of the emotions I personally go through. I paint when I am sad, happy, feeling lost, have found light and even in hunger. Every little emotion changes the outcome of my work,” he said, and that is why I believe his paintings are different and truly one of a kind.

Anup Vega. Exhibition 2014

Vega uses a mix of mediums to paint. For this collection of paintings, he has primarily used water colours but on other occasions he likes to dab in oils, acrylics and whatever he has at hand at the moment he is personal driven to paint.

“Many would not see it as it is, but painting is a luxury to me. When people talk about freedom of expression, they often do not see it in the form of painting. But that is what it is to me. I have a great deal of freedom and I love that feeling. There are energies that surround you at all times and these energies translate onto my work. Sometimes I paint in black and white and then sometimes I use a great deal of colour. These can be easily understood through the paintings that have been picked out for my exhibition,” he added.

Anup Vega. Exhibition 2014

Anjanam is currently been exhibited at the Barefoot Gallery until 25 November.

Monochrome Challenge!

I love tags on Instagram that challenge you to post a variety of images. This past weekend, I was challenged by a good friend to participate in a monochrome challenge for five days. Five images, five days and in turn to tag five persons to do the same.

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Day 1 – The Barefoot Gallery; one of my favourite places to visit every month
Day 2 - New spa goodies!
Day 2 – New spa goodies!
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Day 3 – The National Archives (side view)

 

Day 4 - Independence Arcade
Day 4 – Independence Arcade
Day 5 - My personal in-house business :)
Day 5 – My personal in-house business 🙂

If you haven’t been challenged, this is me officially tagging you to post five images for five days!

Xoxo

 

Pottery and Clay Art Workshop

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I found out about this creative workshop just this morning and I thought it was something truly interesting. In case you live in Colombo or visiting the city, do try and reserve a spot for tomorrow’s workshop!

Terracotta and pottery by Mr Somawardhena – Murthi ceramics
Winner for red clay pottery category at the provincial awards 2013

This workshop is specially geared towards fun and artistic discovery. Potter Mr Somawardhena will be there with expert instruction that will lead participants on the path of creative discovery, so Come join us and get a little dirty. Our instructor will show and assist you with the basic techniques of the potter’s wheel and will move onto more advanced projects if you are a repeat offender on the second day 🙂

Course highlights-

Theory sessions – history, techniques & appreciation of ceramics

Practical sessions – throwing on dedicated electric wheel as well as hand building

Hand-Building with Clay-
Discover the rich world of hand-building with clay. Learn all about coil-building, slab-rolling, textures and tools in this workshop for beginners and those with very little experience. Approached with enthusiasm for clay, this session will bring out the hidden artist in you!

Techniques for Wheel Throwing-
This session will focus on wheel throwing techniques for participants new to clay and those with experience. Start by learning methods of wedging, centering, lifting and forming, in addition to practicing the best positions for negotiating a mass of clay on the wheel.

All final pieces will be fired and ready for collection in 2 weeks.

Only 25 seats available for each days session.

Price per person –

1 day – Rs 3000, Both days – Rs 5000

• The above amount includes lunch and light refreshments along with all materials for the workshop including firing of final piece.

• Bring a spare t-shirt in case you have too much fun

For reserving a space or a chat about the workshop contact 0777.766.936