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Lionel Wendt comes alive with Parisian street life


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Well-known media personality Kumar de Silva is back again, this time with the fifth edition of his annual series of black and white photographic exhibitions – ‘Nostalgie05’ – which brings the streets of Paris to life in a trillion shades of grey as part of the current French Spring Festival 2015. 

Chief Guest at the gala opening on Friday 10 July will be State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene while Guest of Honour will be cinema legend Irangani Serasinghe whose 1950s portrait by Ivan Alwis once adorned the galleries of the Petit-Palais in Paris. 

Presented as part of the French Spring Festival 2015 and hosted by the Embassy of France in Sri Lanka and the Alliance Francaise de KOTTE, ‘Nostalgie05 – The Streets of Paris’ is free oDFT-14-5f charge and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 July at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery.  

All profits from the sale of photographs will go to the Scholarship Fund of the children of the award-winning press photographer, the late Rukshan Abeywansa. 

Nostalgie05 is partnered by DIC Lanka Ltd., Lionel Wendt Arts Centre, Lou Ching Wong, Menaka de Fonseka Sahabandu, Neidra Williams, Nuran Gomez, Seya Colour Kalubowila, Softwave Printing and Packaging Ltd., The Film Team, Theme Resorts and Spas, Tiesh and Vitte Software Solutions. 

“This year’s theme has been inspired by one of my very strange hobbies, which is observing human behavioural patterns. The streets of Paris constitute a gigantic and living open-air art gallery with its little microcosms of performance art. There are its conscious performers whom people watch, look at, applaud and recompense, or even totally ignore and walk away. There are also those unconscious ones whose performances are more spontaneous and refreshingly unpredictable. They are there … all over. You only have to stop and look … as they unfold beneath your eyes in a multi-dimensional real-life performance.”

General Delegate of the Paris-based Fondation Alliance Francaise and Director of the Alliance Francaise de KOTTE Alexandre Martinez said: “The famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once said that photographing is putting on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart. This quote totally fits Kumar de Silva’s approach and work, and I should add, all of this together with humour and tenderness.”

Modestly describing himself as “an absolutely amateur photographer”, de Silva goes on to say: “Camera in hand, I enjoy walking around, mainly alone and undisturbed, be it in Paris or anywhere else in France, leaning against a lamp-post or a garbage bin, sitting on the pavement and recording diverse scenes from day-to-day life.”

Kumar De Silva has had a long association with France spanning three decades. In recognition of his efforts in promoting the awareness and enrichment of France’s cultural heritage, he was bestowed with the title ‘Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters’ by the French Government. His previous exhibitions are online at www.kumardesilva.com.

Situated at 11, Keppetipola Mawatha, Colombo 07, the Alliance Française de Kotte is France’s only French language and cultural centre in the Colombo City and the Greater Colombo areas. There are no other such branches in Colombo.  

With increasing numbers of students every term, it has become the preferred choice of all Sri Lankans, both young and adults, who wish to learn the French language, with certification and diplomas fully recognised by France.  

The Alliance Française de KOTTE is fully affiliated to the Fondation Alliance Française in Paris and enjoys the patronage of the Government of France and the Embassy of France in Sri Lanka.


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