Passionate painter from the peninsula experiments the experiences of war and post war
My Childhood Memories II
He studied at the Vasaavilaan Madhya Maha Viyalayam in Jaffna, and wanted to become an artist. After finishing the General Certificate of Education (Advanced Level) he went to India and studied contemporary painting at the College of Fine Arts, Karnataka Chithrakala Parishath affiliated to the Bangalore University. He holds Master of Visual Arts and currently works as a lecturer at the Art & Design unit of the University of Jaffna.
His works have been exhibited at the National group exhibition organised by the North and East Provincial Council in 2003, which was held in Trincomalee, Varna Mozhi group exhibition organized by the Art & Design unit of the University of Jaffna in 2006 and the annual exhibition of the College of Fine Arts, Karnataka Chithrakala Parishath affiliated to the Bangalore University in 2011.
He participated in the recently concluded Colombo Art Biennale or CAB as it is popularly known. He tries to connect the four paintings with war and peace in Sri Lanka. He has named “Light in My Land” as an overall title for his paintings. “While peace prevails without bomb blasts and violence, man is trying to lead a happy and peaceful life. But he wages a war within, tries to be relieved from mental and physical trauma, which were imposed due to the protracted war.
The people who have been living in the war zones and experienced the cruelty of the war are now slowly moving to lead a peaceful life. PEACE is “BECOMING” to the people who have suffered endlessly. But peace is seen with fear psychosis” shares Varatharajan Balamurugan.
His four paintings namely “My Childhood Memories I, My Childhood Memories II, Light in My Land I and Light in My Land II” have stood out at the second edition of the Colombo Art Biennale themed “Becoming”. The upright figure with cracks on the body, bunkers, aircraft, National identity card, snake, spider web connect the experience of war, while butterflies and the opened window express freedom and peace. The painting named “Light in My Land II” has the National identity card fixed to the chest, explains many things. The National identity card is an important document in Sri Lanka which plays big role, especially during the war. He paid attention to tiny details including district number 4 (means Jaffna)which clearly identifies the district of the person he or she belongs to and the follow up questions.These paintings express the experiences of the war and post war. He experiments with rare colours to capture the reality. It’s quite easy to get connected to the paintings, especially for those who have experienced the brutal war in Sri Lanka.
Light in My Land II
My Childhood Memories I
Varatharajan Balamurugan continues to connect himself with the experience of war
Light in My Land I