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Lalith’s Fe2+ scrap metal sculpture exhibition next week

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Lalith Senanayake is no amateur to the field of visual arts in Sri Lanka. Scrap metal welded and bent, to breathe life, certainly an awe-inspiring work of art. Immense creativity and persistence in whatever Lalith produces is a result of many years of practice from oil on canvas to being a cartoonist and then as a layout artist in several national newspapers. 

Wildlife in Sri Lanka like many parts of the world is facing the threat of increasing urbanisation. With every passing second the natural forest covers are degraded, and the human wildlife conflict is on the rise. 

Amid piles and piles of garbage that decorate the environment in this process, it was scrap metal that caught Lalith’s attention. Change of perception, through bending the rules to create life-sized master pieces of wildlife out of worthless scrap metal!

The desire to work on scrap metal was subtle, just a few pieces of ants and a bird made him take on a path that he never imagined. The ants and the bird were only meant to decorate his painting exhibition at hand. They were mere pieces of décor during the two days for many who witnessed the exhibition. 

Yet for one exceptional personality these figurines was what caught his attention and as he wished Lalith on his venture, his sincere request from Lalith was to “continue to create more of them”… this gesture was from none other than by one of Sri Lanka’s renowned architects, Anjalendran. 

These subtle words were all what he needed, nothing less and nothing more. Over time it kindled in Lalith the desire to create and to explore a new, much more challenging, venture.    

His task at hand is to give meaning to a rusting pile of nails, nuts and bolts made of iron. In a matter of minutes a nail entwined in a coil of wire becomes an ant. After a chain of ants, this illusionist and wonderful creator decides next to give flight to a bird of prey. 

From disorder and chaos to a beautiful piece of workmanship with meaning, which is no longer chaos.  Being sensitive to nature and wildlife through the years, has brought him ever so closer to nature, and is clearly depicted in the art work he has thus created. 

Lalith’s venture thus far would not have been possible if not for many who have helped him and inspired him over the years. Specially helping Lalith to look at his own creations in a much different perception, adding different colours and working hard disorienting every lined metal scrap at times or to the already-designed sculpture only in the sincere hope of helping their father are the duo Yani and Pawan. 

Lalith undoubtedly is thankful for the immense companionship rendered to him by these beloved children, and by his life’s companion Ruwanthi adding more meaning to his life.  

Although oil on canvas medium was Lalith’s forte that ignited the spirit amid spacious colours and sculptures from the very earth, breathing life to scrap metal that lay lifeless amid a chaotic world of metallic garbage was challenging to him, marking a special turning point in his career as an artist. 

Capturing every muscle and tendon in a wild beast from rusted carcasses of discarded equipment, and the toil of hard labour is unimaginable and clearly driven by passion. The overall process from the initial sketching of the draft and assembling piece by piece of tiny scraps and welding each part to produce a life-sized sculptures of horses, leopards to birds, etc., is unimaginably spectacular. 

Each day spent amid these metallic waste to create masterpieces of visual art has never been a tiresome one for Lalith, as these wild and magnanimous creations are undoubtedly an expression of his love of nature and wildlife beyond boundaries!

Towards a unified attempt: Art for a purpose!

Unlike any of Lalith’s previous attempts this exhibition holds specialty towards a much-unified attempt more than any of his earlier exhibitions. All the sculptures that he has made here have been finalised and given their identity by Pawan. For Lalith knows that art deserves to be explored by a different insight so it can be creative, to take the flaws of imagination to the next level. 

Nearly 25 scrap metal sculptures of wildlife welded by Lalith has been painted to give a unique splendour adding more meaning like nowhere you will ever get to see. Tagging along is Yani with four of her beautifully mastered scrap metal sculptures all created from scratch under the supervision and guided of his father with the sole intention of raising funds for an unpretentious purpose. 

It was her idea to raise funds for a team of ‘footballers,’ Dootha Football Academy, which has a single coach, Pala Wijesekara, and 70 children in Badulla. After joining their team both Yani and Pawan saw that their friends had bare feet and no high tech gear, instead a common will to strive hard in what they did best!

“Thaththa I want to give all the money by selling my work for my friends at the Academy” – so be it, and the venture began.  

Instead of complaining about the mess that Yani and Pawan made, all Lalith did was encourage them more so that he too could spend as much time with his children. Endurance beyond imagination is depicted in every single piece of metal, in these lively creatures of the wild. 

Five per cent of the profit of selling the scrap metal sculptures will fund the Dootha Football Academy to bear the cost of the ground premises in Badulla and the basic needs of the children.

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