25th July, 2004  Volume 11, Issue 2


















Gallery that proves Semage's uniqueness

By Risidra Mendis 

His art is unique and his subjects are natural. No matter what he paints, every single painting tells his viewers a different story.

For Jayasiri Semage, a renowned artist both locally and internationally, painting and exhibiting has now become a part of his life.

Despite the many painting exhibitions Semage has had both here and abroad, the need to have his very own gallery in Sri Lanka crossed his mind. This idea today is the result of his own 'Semage Art Gallery.'

According to Semage, the main idea behind the opening of the Semage Art Gallery is to give local artists and art minded foreigners touring the country, the opportunity of viewing his paintings at their convenience.  

Paintings displayed at the Semage Art Gallery include those exhibited abroad thereby giving viewers the opportunity of seeing and appreciating some of the most exclusive and original paintings of the maestro himself. Among the master pieces on display at the Semage Art Gallery are paintings of village life, innocent village romance and the daily lifestyle of village folk in Sri Lanka. Semage's paintings are done using oil paints, water colours and  acrylic media. A specialty among the items on view are the  gifts and awards that Semage has won at international and local level.

What makes the Semage Art Gallery that much more special is the fact that Semage has the honour and distinction of being the only local artist, a piece of whose work is on view at the United Nations Hall of Fame in Geneva.  

Semage who held one man exhibitions in Sweden, Switzerland, Nepal, Thailand and Finland along with the works of other international artists, has succeeded in bringing all his paintings for viewing at a single place. 

Having won awards such as the National Honour Kalasoori in 1990 the Kalabhooshana award in 1999 the Sri Lanka United Nations Friendship Organisation (SUNFO) award and an award by the Media Foundation International Organisation (MFIO).

It is also a well known fact that international artists have taken a leaf from this new and exclusive style of Semage's paintings. At a time when everything is taking a new shape it is an honour to Sri Lanka that Semage's painting styles are being followed by international artists.         

Admission to the Semage Art Gallery is free of charge in order to give people the opportunity of viewing and understanding some of the most well known and appreciated paintings of Semage.

"The seating arrangement at the Semage Art Gallery, is such that one can view the paintings in a relaxed posture," explained Semage who hopes that more people will be encouraged to paint and improve their painting techniques after having seen his paintings at the Semage Art Gallery.

Collection by mother-daughter duo 

By Jamila Najmuddin 

Chiranthi and Niloo Gunesekera will once again provide art lovers with a wonderful collection of paintings from July 17 to 19. The mother - daughter duo, who have already proved their excellent artistic skills over the past couple of years will hold an exhibition once again at the Lionel Wendt Theatre from 10.a.m to 7p.m.

Discovering her talent for art in her younger years, Chiranthi Gunesekera has had her artistic education under one of Sri Lanka's most talented artists - Swanee Jayawardene.

Spending most of her younger years in a tea plantation, Chiranthi has naturally used tea pluckers as the main object in her paintings for this exhibition along with her daughter Niloo, whose main object is lotus - a flower that represents purity.

"After I got married I used to live on tea plantations with my husband. Surrounded by such a beautiful and peaceful environment, I suddenly became drawn to this beautiful atmosphere and the people that surrounded it.

"Today, most of my paintings represent the tea plantations. However, in the past I have also drawn a mixture of paintings such as ballet dancers, a mixture of flowers and so on," Chiranthi said.

Chiranthi was also an invited guest artist at the 43rd group and is also a past pupil of Bishop's College.

Daughter, Niloo Gunesekera has also been an active member in the art industry for many years. She has been featured at many exhibitions organised by the George Keyt Foundation and has also been an active member of their artist camps held recently.

"I was inspired to be an artist because of my mother. Seeing her paint, I developed a natural aptitude for the subject as well and today I am proud to have this talent," Niloo added.

This is the third exhibition where the mother-daughter pair will be exhibiting their paintings, having held two exhibitions before in 1987 and 1998.

Ceramicware on display 

An exhibition of innovative and witty contemporary kitchenware, organised by the British Council alongside more traditional ceramic pieces designed by established UK potters will be on display at the Barefoot Gallery from July 15-August 1. The exhibition will be opened to the public on weekdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Apart from the exhibition, British Council will also host a talk conducted by one of the designers of the exhibition itself. Andrew Tanner, a well-known name in the ceramics and pottery industry in the UK has worked very closely with many of the designers of the exhibition. His talk along with his slide presentation will provide the audience an overall understanding and overview of the ceramics and pottery industry in the UK. The talk will be held at the Barefoot Gallery on Saturday,  July 24 at 4 p.m. and will be opened to the public on a first-come first-served basis.  

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