13 October, 2019
Wounded Landscapes I, 2019, Pigment Ink and Acrylic on Paper, 170cm x 106cm CATALOGUE
Wounded Landscapes I, 2019, Pigment Ink and Acrylic on Paper, 170cm x 106cm CATALOGUE

The ‘Wounded Landscape’ by Pakkiyarajah Pushpakanthan portrays the reality of disappearances, unforgettable memories and events inextricably intertwined with the land. He continues to confront the chilling immediacy of disappeared people in the land we live in whether it is Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Myanmar, Iraq, Palestine or any other place.

“As a silent witness of stories past and present, the land holds evidence of every single experience: of joy and suffering, of life and death. The beautiful sights of stretching beaches, luscious jungles, and waterfalls of the island might also be terrifying, since they mask what could be, and often is, actually hidden.

So, rather than the sensuous scenery that can be easily perceived, the landscape unseen — or forced to disappear— interests me more,” Pakkiyarajah said. Pakkiyarajah Pushpakanthan was born in Batticaloa, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree of the University of Jaffna and is a Lecturer at the Department of Visual and Technological Arts at the Swami Vipulananda Institute for Aesthetic Studies, Eastern University.

Pushpakanthan’s medium predominantly consists of detailed ink and watercolour drawings on paper. The mood of the artist’s work draws from his first-hand experiences in the conflict and trauma in the war in the North.

By exploring unforgettable memories of death, disappearance, torture and wounds, the artist uses his work as a space to lay bare the painful realities of the past so that people can grieve and heal.

Rather than searching for answers of solutions, he moves through refined shifts of perception, hoping that the spectator is able to empathize with the trauma and its meaning. He has exhibited in Sri Lanka, India and the UK, and is represented at the Saskia Fernando Gallery. His work is in private collections in Sri Lanka, Europe and North America. He is a recipient of a South Asia Studies Fellowship at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.