Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Beautification" through an artist's eyes

Text and Pictures by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Bones: White cement cast, Mosaic

Engrossed viewer at venue

Important years in Sri Lanka's history

"Beautification", this year's theme for artist Chandraguptha Thenuwara's annual exhibition, which is held to commemorate the "Black July". He wanted to create something different to commemorate 30 years of "Black July". The whole of Lionel Wendt Art Gallery was turned into a piece of art to admire. Floor was filled with white cement mosaic, read and grey ready made bricks. Pieces of a sculpture were scattered on top of it, reminding the viewers of the impeached Chief Justice of Sri Lanka. 

Unlike other art exhibitions, art lovers got confused, as they entered, didn't know whether to step in, and walk on the neatly laid bricks, and didn't know which way to take. Most of them waited outside, until Chandraguptha Thenuwara invited them inside, and asked them to walk whichever way they preferred to take.

"I have been following the Colombo Beautification very closely, and wanted to reflect on that for my this year's annual exhibition. Beautification means erasing the memories. We should revist the memories, whether we like it or not.I also wanted to revisit important years in Sri Lanka's history, and put the memory on display. Why are we not questioning the changes which are taking place in our country?", queries Chandraguptha Thenuwara.

The artist wanted the viewers to participate, comment, and critique. It's a participatory art approach that Chandraguptha Thenuwara has been using for awhile.

Provocative piece of art

Scattered sculpture depicting the impeachment of the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake

Camouflage, White cement cast

Head of Themis, White cement cast

Hand and sword, White cement cast

Balance, White cement cast

Sculpture in three parts: White cement cast

Chandraguptha Thenuwara with a viewer

Dhammapada: White Painting, acrylic on canvass, Triptych

Dr.Gamini Viyangoda, Sunethra Bandaranaike, and Upeka Chitrasena at the inauguration

Lines: Black Painting, acrylic on canvass, Triptych

Experiencing "Beautification"

Cons and Pros 1 & 2, Mixed Media

On the back of a tshirt worn by a viewer


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