The Sunday Leader

For The Beauty Of Art…

By Sumaya Samarasinghe

Woman And Horses By Segar , The Lonely Lady By Segar and Dharshyni Peries

On January 23, the art scene went through an important change in Sri Lanka.
For the very first time, an art auction was held at the annual Kalapola and a painting titled
Woman And Horses was sold for Rs. 400 000. The highest bidder was Dharshyni Peries, a Sri Lankan living in New York City who placed her bid via email. Peiris arrived in America straight after her A/Levels where she first did her undergraduate studies at Mount Holyoke College which was followed by an MBA at the prestigious Yale School of Management. After having worked for 23 years in Investment Banking as a Derivatives Trader, she currently trades managed accounts.

Her ties with Sri Lanka remain strong  and she visits the country at least once a year since members of her family still live here. The Sunday Leader asked this successful professional who is married and the mother of two children what attracts her to Sri Lankan art.

Q: You have just made the headlines after purchasing Raja’s Segar’s “Woman And Horses” at the 18th Kalapola’s first ever auction for a sum of Rs. 400 000. By Sri Lankan standards it is a fairly large amount, could you tell us why you decided to purchase this painting?

A: I first got into Sri Lankan art about 15 years ago when I went to visit Senaka Senanayake’s gallery. I was fascinated with his paintings and started buying a piece every year when I came for visits to Sri Lanka.  Subsequently, my husband got involved with Sri Lankan art and wanted to explore more of the Sri Lankan art scene.  We purchased paintings of Marie Alles-Fernando, Justin Dereniyagala, Seevali, and of course paintings by Segar.  I agree with the description of Segar’s paintings : “Segar’s vibrant style often pays homage to the beauty of women”.  I managed to purchase two of his earlier paintings of scenes of Sri Lanka.  I have kept in touch with Segar as I was interested in following his work.

He mentioned about the Kalapola and said he had a painting displayed for auction.  I requested him to send me a picture of the painting.  It was very different from the one’s I had purchased and was very interested in adding it to my collection. If there is a departure from the usual style of painting, I find it to be interesting.  Of course, it has to be aesthetically pleasing to my eye.  I am glad that I turned out to be the highest bidder and very happy to have won the painting.

Q: Segar is not the only Sri Lankan artist hanging on the walls of your residence in New York, why are you so supportive of Sri Lankan art?

A: I have all the above mentioned painters hanging on the walls mixed with other Western artists whom I have learnt to appreciate  a great deal with time.  I have to say that they blend well together.  The Sri Lanka art generates the most compliments by friends and guests to our home.

Q Many of our local artists are known in Sri Lanka, but their names are not household names in other countries, do you see a future investment purpose in purchasing their work?

A: The primary purpose of my collecting Sri Lankan art is for the unique beauty of each piece.  The pleasure they provide, and the aesthetic enhancement to our lives we derive from art is priceless to me.

Q: The idea of an art auction is completely new in Sri Lanka. Have you attended other such auctions in the US or any other country?

A: Auctions are a great way to promote artists as long as you have a minimum bid that keeps the value of the painter.  Auctions bring in people who may otherwise not show interest in going to an artist’s studio or gallery for example.  I do go to few auctions that have starting values that are commiserate with the artist’s worth.  You do get a rush when you get the piece of art that you have coveted, and it is always great to get it at a good deal like anything in life!

Comments are closed

Photo Gallery

Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes