Cyril Wickramasinghe presents ‘Swarna Warna’ – A lifetime of paintings

Saturday, 22 January 2011 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Colour is gold for the artist, as it is nothing but colour that enables him to express the depth, concepts and realities that he attempts to depict through his creations. It is also the colour that attracts the viewer to what the artist expresses vividly through his own disciplined strokes with a brush and paints.

Hence ‘Swarna Warna’ (Golden Colours), an exhibition of paintings of landscapes, abstract expressions, religious episodes, carefully copied depictions of traditional temple arts and model paintings completed over a period of over five decades by artist Cyril Wickramasinghe was officially unveiled at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery yesterday.

All the paintings and artistic expressions on display at the exhibition have been done with water colours, tempera powder, paint and poster colours. It is also a combination of several artistic disciplines that depict the artistic styles of ancient and modern murals in Sri Lanka and India. Several paintings at the exhibition also follow the Eastern and Western styles of expressions, while many others express the tradition of the artist’s own style of colourful depictions.

“This exhibition is the result of my interest and skill with paintings since my childhood at school. At this juncture, I would never forget the encouraging support rendered to me by B. Victor Salgadu, C. D. S. Kulathilake and Gunapala De Silva who served as art masters at Nugawela Central College in Kandy where I studied. Their dedicated guidance to make me an artist has taken me a long way and has enabled me to express and serve my country in the best way possible. It also allowed me to carry our ways and styles of artistic expressions to the Maldivian Republic where I served for a considerable period of my life as a master of art,” said Wickramasinghe.

After his school days, Wickramasinghe joined the ‘Kamala Lamaa Samajaya’, which was a then popular children’s page in ‘Silumina’ newspaper and also contributed cartoons and art to the evening tabloid ‘Janatha’.

“My meeting with prominent journalist Piyal Wicramasinghe at an art exhibition in Colombo in 1956 offered me a precious opportunity in life by giving me the chance to contribute pocket cartoons on the social lifestyles of people to the ‘Sunday Lankadeepa’ newspaper which was a Times publication at that time. I also contributed cartoons and column stories as well as cover page art for ‘Sarasaviya’, the weekly tabloid published by Lake House in the 60s. Upon the invitation of Percy Jayamanna who was a journalist and a popular writer, I got the opportunity to contribute cartoons and arts to the ‘Sathuta’ newspaper which was another popular weekly publication at that time,” Wickramasinghe added.

The contributions made by Wickramasinghe to the annual exhibitions organised by the Colombo National Art Front since 1959 were widely recognized and his artistic creations at these exhibitions always won distinctions. During that time, he also provided creations for book covers for a leading book printer in Kandy. He was also the cover designer for the annual publication of the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy that depicted the street map of its annual ‘Esala’ procession.

The art exhibition ‘Swarna Warna’ by Cyril Wickramasinghe will be open to the public today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.