Seen and the unseen
An exhibition of paintings by Karunasiri Wijeysinghe
And The Unseen will be
held at the BMICH from September 6-12. The special feature of this
exhibition is that the paintings are based on 30 poems, composed by
the two veteran Sinhala poets, Nandana Weerasinghe and Ariyawansa
Ranaweera. These Sinhala poems have been rendered into English
language by the versatile translator Tilaka Dharmapriya.
The paintings are not meant to be mere illustrations of
the poems as is usually done. Instead the artist has attempted to
grasp the subtle inner layers of meanings of the poems and portray
them in his canvas. In other words, the colours of the artist are
not mere hand maidens of the poetic word but a search into the roots
of these two mediums, to try and find a harmony of sorts between
The artist poses the question: can such total harmony be
effectively achieved? or else are these two mediums kindred spirits
in spite of the fact that one uses colour and the other uses the
word as their modes of expression. Do they travel some distance
together in their search for perfection and take diverse routes at a
certain critical point? Or is this an impossible attempt which is
bound to end in failure?
These are the pertinent points thrown up by the artist,
to be unraveled by the observer through a very close scrutiny of the
The two poets and the artist have certain common
similarities in their approach to artistic expression. The two poets
do not accept poetry as the arrangement of the most suitable words,
in their most suitable contexts. Instead they consider that poetic
intensity could be garnered only if words are kept in unfamiliar and
unconventional situations. They believe that the poet should not
only soothe the words but also beat them occasionally if the need
arises, as Dylan Thomas has said. The image and the metaphor are two
prominent modes of these two poets.
Karunasiri Wijeysinghe is an artist who strives to see
the world, through intense concentration on individual objects. His
eye rarely catches the wood but is focused on the tree. A small
neglected object like a solitary rugged boulder, a worn out decayed
tree trunk or an ant hill rising in a desolate landscape becomes the
metaphors for his inner observation into the total universe.
Artistic intensity through minute observation is his forte.
These are certain common features between the approaches
of the artist and the two poets. The challenge is to blend them into
a total common visual picture transcending the word.
Another feature of this exhibition is the English
renderings of the Sinhala poems by Tilaka Dharamapriya. When the
common acceptance is that true poetry is untranslatable, Dharmapriya
tries his hand in translating the Sinhala poems.
It is transference and creation taken together. The
bugbear of the translator, specially a translator of poetry, is his
difficulty to grasp the idiomatic meanings and nuances of the
original language and to reflect them in a different language.
Dharmapriya has succeeded in overcoming this difficulty to a great
extent. His translations are pure poetry which could be enjoyed in
their own right.
It is truly worthwhile to visit this exhibition and
experience this bold experiment. The exhibition is patronised by
Sarasavi Publishers Nugegoda.
The trials of getting
her voice back...
The Little Mermaid better known as the
World Under The Sea will
formed by the students of
Museaus College. The story revolves around the little mermaid who
comes to the aid of a prince. The Prince is shipwrecked and the
Little Mermaid Ariel saves him. She then falls in love with the
Prince and wants to come to the surface to become a human and spend
the rest of her life with him.
However, the little mermaid gets caught to the wicked
witch who tells her she can be made into a human as long as she
forfeits her voice. The Little Mermaid agrees. But once at the
surface the mermaid cannot explain to the Prince who she is as she
has lost her voice. After many adventurous and terrifying scenes
with the help of Sebastian the crab, Flounder the fish and Scuttle
among other friends of Ariel, she finally gets her voice back.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader play director Sylvana
Willie Ferreira said most of the play is performed under the sea.
Having started her career as a teledrama actress, Feriera joined
Museaus College. After a period of 15 years of experience in
handling choreography, Feriera finally tried her hand at directing
and producing her maiden play. "I chose this play because it
was not performed by any other school," explained Feriera.
According to Feriera, it has been wonderful working with
the students. "The students are talented and have taken to
their roles very well.
The cast includes Nimasha Perera - Ariel, Anushi
Hakmanage - Triton (Ariel's father), Nethmi De Silva - the Prince,
Vinuri Wickramasekera - Sebastian, Thisuri Dematagoda - Flounder,
Shamika Rajapakse - Scuttle and Amanda Ekanayake - the witch.
"This is my maiden
play and I enjoy playing the role of Ariel. I made a lot of friends.
My parents are very supportive of my role" said Perera.
"I like my part and enjoy the accent of Sebastian's
singing. This is my first play and my parents enjoy my acting,"
"This is my second performance in a play after five
years. I like the story and my part," added Rajapakse.
The Little Mermaid will be held on September 11 at the
Bishop's College Auditorium at 6.30 p.m.
Taking the world by
By Risidra Mendis
His creative mind works wonders and his thoughts move
freely when he picks up a paintbrush to paint. For S. H. Sarath,
mastering the art of painting is like a duck taking to water.
It was in 1968 that Sarath first took to painting. In
1974 he held his first solo exhibition. From then onwards Sarath
took the arts world by storm when he decided to portray the bitter
and deceitful incidents in life to the public in the form of
paintings. Apart from the general public, politicians and famous
personalities have shown interest in purchasing Sarath's paintings.
"Painting is not only for the rich and famous.
Everybody must be taught to appreciate and understand the beauty of
paintings," said Sarath.
It was Sarath who initially introduced the talent of
local painters to the outside world. "Foreigners did not know
that Sri Lanka had talented painters who could portray many subjects
in the form of painting. But today there is a great demand for local
paintings abroad," explained Sarath.
With over 30 years experience as a painter Sarath has
today become one of the most sought after painters by people from
all walks of life. Having participated in over 45 solo exhibitions
both locally and abroad, Sarath has submitted over 100 paintings for
exhibitions held abroad.
Having held solo exhibitions in countries such as
Australia, Canada, Norway, Bangkok, Thailand, Malaysia, Germany and
Yugoslavia, his group exhibitions were held in Brazil, UK, France,
Japan, Korea, India and Bangladesh.
According to Sarath, a number of foreign buyers still
have his paintings displayed in their countries. "Leslie
Abeysekera has my first oil painting, which I painted in 1974 and
President Chandrika Kumaratunga has my first powder colour painting
painted in 1972," explained Sarath.
According to Sarath, Former Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe had requested him to do a painting at the Education
Ministry and S. K. Wickremesinghe got him to work on a major piece
for the Commercial Bank Head Office. "The art education in Sri
Lanka is very poor. Though students win prizes for their paintings,
these artists are not up to the required standards. The industrial
art field has to develop if the standards of artists are to be
improved," explained Sarath.
Sarath thankded late H. D. Sugathapala, late Charles
Abeysekera, Tissa Ranasinghe and late Ivor Baptist among others who
supported him at the time to develop the art field.
Sarath's exhibition will be held on September 8 and 9 at
the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Pop rock and all that jazz
My first contact with Ruwani
was in 1983 when Dr.
Reggie Seimon and his family gave a musical item at the Doctors'
Annual Concert as the `Nightingales from Kandy.' I next met her in
1993 when Ruwani was back as a young lady from Canada with a double
degree in mathematics and music. She told me her first love was
music and that she was planning to open her own school of singing.
She made her debut as a solo singer at a concert aptly called
musical evening. Since then I have been to many of the concerts by
the `Voices in Harmony': classical music songs from the musicals,
legendary music from the movies and so on. So I have watched as the
children and the choir grew in stature.
The last concert was of course somewhat different. Pop
Rock And All That Jazz, it was called. We sat back and enjoyed the
medleys performed by the combined senior and junior choirs. The
arrangements for four-part voices were clever and most of them
written by Ruwani herself. The complex 'choreography' on the stage
as the choir moved in between items was a delight to watch, done
with finesse. The rhythmic movements by the girls themselves were
appropriate and visually effective. Special mention must be made of
the Fusion Medley with tunes like Danno Budunge and Jayamagalaani
arranged by Mahesh Denipitiya was to me, the highlight of the
evening. The costumes and the dances were graceful and professional.
The backdrops which were projected and the lighting
created the appropriate mood for each item. Congratulations Ruwani
and the 'Voices in Harmony.'
There will be a repeat performance on Wednesday, August 8
at the Lionel Wendt Theatre at 7.30 p.m.
- Selvie Perera