Eyes Only | Sunday Observer

Eyes Only

7 February, 2021

Gayan Prageeth’s latest exhibition, entitled ‘Eyes Only,’ highlighting the grip of corruption on politics in Sri Lanka, started on February 3 at Saskia Fernando Gallery, No. 41, Horton Place, Colombo 7 and will conclude on March 3. The exhibition is open daily from 10am to 6pm.

Prageeth sets his images of destruction against surrealist dreamscapes that lend an eerie disquiet through their contrast of beauty and violence. His use of distinct geometric forms speaks to the factional, divided nature of Sri Lankan politics and his intricate illustrations of faces - though a product of the artist’s imagination - gives an identity and presence to those who have disappeared as a result.

Prageeth forces viewers to confront these realities, inviting them in with his delicate illustrations and then challenging them with their underlying debate on ethnicity, intolerance, and nationalism. ‘Eyes Only’ features work layered in history, religious symbolism, and current affairs but Prageeth cleverly bars viewers from immediately seeing that in order to mimic the lack of transparency that is propagated by corruption.

Gayan Prageeth was born in 1980 in Horana. After obtaining his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Visual and Performing Arts in Colombo, Prageeth gained fame through his solo exhibition at Paradise Road Galleries in 2010 titled ‘Paradox.’

Less than a decade later, ‘Eyes Only’ will be his sixth solo exhibition. In 2016, he ventured into installation works in his exhibition ‘Since 1983,’ drawing from ready-mades and delving into geometric symbolism to create stark juxtapositions that excite the eye and subtly confront the mind. Only a year later at the State Art Festival organised by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Prageeth received the ‘Best Installation’ award.

Since then, Gayan Prageeth has gone on to present his works internationally with Saskia Fernando Gallery at Art Dubai (2019) and in a group show entitled ‘Crossing Place’ at the Baik Art Gallery in Los Angeles. Prageeth is no stranger to international acclaim, having his works presented in the 2008 and 2012 Asian Art Biennale in Bangladesh. At home in Sri Lanka, the artist was selected to participate in Colombo’s own Art Biennale in 2016.

Gayan Prageeth’s portfolio is far from static; his medium, style, techniques, and influences develop continuously. His recent works dive deeper into the realm of political and environmental turmoil that taint our island.