Mahinda Herath returns to Sri Lanka to impart his artistic vision
Thursday, 8 August 2013 00:00
The ‘Philosophical Memoirs – Paintings/Sculptures Exhibition’ by Mahinda Herath will commence today, 8 August, at 6 p.m. at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery. The exhibition will be held on 9, 10 and 11 August from 10 a.m. till 7 p.m.
Mahinda Herath, a Frenchman hailing from Sri Lanka, is an artist who has established himself firmly as one of the most eminent professionals in an industry that is extremely specialised and quite demanding. To garner a name for oneself through the medium of art and sculpture is no easy task. To do so, in the heart of Paris, a bohemian and aesthetic centre for centuries is particularly challenging.
He paints a reflection of his mind and thought process; his skill and dexterity are such that, the reflection and its inherent philosophy, are portrayed immaculately and transferred with the greatest of ease onto the canvas. Religion, philosophy and spirituality are key components of his motivation and preference in terms of his art.
The realm of sculpture forms an integral part of his expression, and his pieces in this regard are surreal, although the content being displayed dwells safely within the domain of realism. He dissects the various parts that form the image he has envisioned, and places them in strategic positions. This breaking down of the whole does not deter his artistic intent whatsoever. This approach only adds to the overall appeal and meaning of his art.
Impermanence within the context of Buddhism is a major theme in Mahinda Herath’s philosophical outlook. The beauty, solitude and melancholy depicted in most of his work is palpable and extremely stimulating visually, due to his employment of basic colours. The colours are intricate, but not overpowering, and are easy to absorb. He delivers philosophically complex messages by drawing upon artistic principles which are simplistic.
His work has been lauded in Paris for decades, and he has had the privilege of his work being exhibited from 1994 to 2006 in the Triennale Mondiale D’Estampes, and obtaining the ‘Certificate of Honour Parchment’ for this in 2003. In addition to this, his work has been featured in many prestigious exhibitions in Paris over the past two decades.
His paintings were displayed in 2010 at the esteemed Les Arts d’a Côté, Epinay-sous-sénart, France. Mahinda Herath has returned to his motherland, Sri Lanka, periodically, in order to display his work to the audience back home. His expositions in Sri Lanka have been held in high regard, and he has managed to inspire many upcoming and reputed artists residing in the country with his distinct attitude towards art.
In conversation with Mahinda Herath, his stature as an artist and philosopher are immediately evident. He speaks with great intent, and is immensely passionate about art and his work. He has a few concerns regarding the development of art in Sri Lanka. It is his view that art in Sri Lanka used to be of a greater standard a couple of decades ago.
Even with the emergence of a plethora of artists, and modern art forms, he feels that a certain element is lacking. He draws a comparison from the sphere of art in Paris, to elucidate his point. In Paris, painting and sculpture is looked at from a different point of view, and it is given the attention to detail and respect it requisites.
It is important for an artist and his work to gain accreditation in Paris, prior to being approved for exposition. While an artist should be free to illustrate his artistic vision through his chosen form, with the process of accreditation required, this ensures that the standard of art remains high, and consistency is attained.
While skill and talent are essential, one has to hone his art in order to improve. Similarly, one’s philosophical standpoint and reasoning for his motivation are equally important in the creation of a holistic artistic experience. Once this is ingrained, sincerity and aesthetic value will naturally follow.
In Sri Lanka, while there is talent galore, the modern artists at times do not approach their work with a clear sense of vision. Also, certain intrinsic guidelines, which ought to be followed, are not known or are simply overlooked. This leads to complacency, and the creation of art that may be beautiful, but is often devoid of depth and meaning.
With the talent and abundant resources at the disposal of Sri Lankan artists, there is no reason for us to lag behind the rest of the world. We have been bestowed with a rich culture and history of over two millennia, with some of the greatest artistic expressions ever conjured. There is simply no excuse for us to not improve, and take our art to even greater heights.
“A dose of discipline, greater focus, and the acceptance of a few important guidelines, will ensure our artists take the leap into the current era of modern art more fluidly,” said Mahinda Herath.