|Killing Fields Ceylon- 1818|
The Painting is based on the available references and commentaries from the descendants of the victims of the genocide carried out by the British troops in response to the 1818 Rebellion that started in Uwa-Wellassa. It is said that no male of an age capable of carrying arms was spared, Houses, cattle and grain was decimated. Most of the events are clouded but where there are documentation and stories surviving; the indications of how cruel the British was in the suppression can be glimpsed.
As a Painter I at certain cross road of my life chose to paint images of people of Lanka. But instead of the people I see today; in their faces I tried to seek our ancestors who walked the soil of this land through time. History has always fascinated me; and I have become an eternal and passionate student of the past.
|Princess Samudra Devi|
I sought inspiration for my paintings in the lives of the ancient Sinhalese, and I tried to seek his way of life. The closer I got to what ever the windows that were left open by them to their times; the more I started to feel a widening gap between the lives of these people and the way we saw them through the culture of the present day Sinhala.
The people who looked back at me through time were colourful, vibrant and exuberant. Of charismatic warriors in glittering armour and sensuous women fully at ease in their revealing attire. far from the perceived and accepted cultural image of the modern Sinhala people.
I paint what I see; but too often do I find other Sri Lankan's un-familiar of the images needing explanations for the reasons behind my interpretations of the Sinhala past.
This blog hopefully will be a place where I could share my reasons and may be build in the least an interesting dialogue with peers.
|Delayed at the gate|
The main interests of discussion include re-assessing the ancient Sinhala dress through time based on available information rather than being restricted by the accepted stereotypes that seem to be far too narrow and conservative.
The Sinhala warrior; his arms and armour are another main point of interest which main stream study has neglected for long and need to be investigated.
Thirdly some elements of my paintings that constantly run across the grain of the modern day accepted Sinhala cultural values need to be explained in a context that also explores the roots of the modern accepted value systems believed to be indigenous to the Sinhalese.