The Sunday Leader

Political Cartoons In Absentia

By Dilini PereraPhotos by Nishadi Liyanage

Media bowing to power, Participants at the event, Sandhya Eknaligoda and Religion's link to power?

An exhibition of illustrations by Prageeth Eknaligoda titled ‘Cave Art of 21st Century’ was held at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery from May 18 to 20. The exhibition, with more than 50 never-before-seen sketches, was organised by the Prageeth Eknaligoda Foundation which comprises of a few of Prageeth’s close friends.

The politically-charged exhibition featured many illustrations that both hailed and criticized the media as well as religion. With titles such as ‘Mass media and power together will hoodwink you’ which depicts the pen as a snake hypnotizing the common man and ‘Humanitarianism is the highest stage of civilization’ where a tree bends over water, Eknaligoda is brutally honest with his views on the current state of the country.

Sandhya Eknaligoda, wife of Prageeth said that this was a “dream” of his. “He drew and framed these illustrations himself. They were drawn within a short period of time in October last year,” she stated. She added that he drew almost 70 illustrations, 53 of which have been selected for the exhibition.

Udaya Kalupathirana, a member of the Free Media Movement said that there was a large turnout for the exhibition, including diplomats, foreign ambassadors, press and politicians from both sides of the trench. “There was a very good response” he added.

The exhibition, which had been planned by Prageeth since last year, hit many snags with venue cancellations amongst other problems. After securing the Lionel Wendt Gallery in February, Eknaligoda was abducted and many media groups have been vocal in protesting against this disappearance and subsequent investigations.

Plans are being made to move the exhibition to the main cities of the country including Jaffna. However, nothing has been confirmed. Two books that feature his illustrations and writing were also released at the exhibition and proceeds from the sales will go towards supporting his wife and children.

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