Inner Beauty raw, vivid and powerful | Sunday Observer

Inner Beauty raw, vivid and powerful

5 July, 2020

Inner Beauty, Kasun Geethendra Pathirana’s first solo exhibition is now on at the ‘Paradise Road Gallery’ in  Kollupitiya, Colombo 3.

Kasun is an extremely talented artist with a unique outlook on life. The drawings showcase Kasun’s views on life and are interlinked with mythology and religion.

This highly gifted artist believes in a force which shapes our lives and according to whose dictates we live our lives consciously or unconsciously. Kasun finds the pair of hands often depicted in art symbolic of this force.

His belief is reinforced by works of art like Michael Angelo’s painting of the creation of Adam and Eve. He also believes that people are often judged by  judged by society as well as by some other force, may be even a divine force.

Therefore, people always strive to live up to the standards they feel are expected by the forces which shape their lives and those who pass judgment on them.

These concepts of a force shaping people’s lives and judging them are the intertwined themes in Kasun’s work. His picture Obedience showcasing a dog is an excellent depiction of this concept. A dog has been used as the subject owing to its loyalty to  his master.

Pathirana’s current exhibition  Inner Beauty showcases drawings in black and white. They are so raw, vivid and powerful that they hit you in the face. In fact, some of these  may repel you at first glance but a closer viewing will make you understand the powerful  imagery.

The artist uses interlocking , serpentine and phallic/yonic forms to put across his thoughts. The use of paper doilies as a background for some of the smaller pictures is a very creative feature in these drawings.

The delicateness of the doilies contrast with the raw, vivid  images bringing them into  bringing into sharp focus. The doilies also represent a halo and also a repository for food. This latter imagery is symbolic or representative of the fact that people are made use of in ways similar to the use of food.

Born and bred in the village of Loluwagoda, Kasun had his primary and secondary education at the reputed Wickramashila National College (Wickramashila Jathika Pasala). From an early age he showed much talent for drawing and painting and received great encouragement from his teachers. He entered many islandwide art competitions and won awards.

The beauty of his rural, home environment, what he saw in daily life, what he read and viewed on TV and movies were all grist to the mill for this young artist.

 As a project for his A/L examination Kasun did a project called Warna - an exhibition of  paintings in water col ours and pastels. It was held in the school’s art room .

Having gained entry to the University of Visual and Performing Arts in Colombo  for the 2010/11 intake Kasun was selected for Textile Designing.

But his heart was in painting and as he felt designing was not for him he transferred to painting. He loved every minute and was inspired by the work of his lecturers and senior students.

Renowned artist and lecturer  Chandargupta Thenuwara’s lectures on Italian artist Caraveggio inspired Kasun to turn to painting in oils. Others who have had an influence on Kasun’s artistic career are Dumith Kulasekera, Kingsley Goonetilleke, Jagath Weerasinghe and Sujith Ratnayake among several others.

Among other foreign artists in whose work Kasun has found inspiration are Michael Angelo Chagall, Dali, Lucian Freud , Francis Bacon, Velasquez, Gaugin and Da Vinci.

Kasun has also made a study of Christian art especially the use of gold in paintings. He had to familiarise himself with the Bible during his University career to help him in his studies.

Kasun has worked as an artist at TBWA Advertising  under Subash Pinnapola and  at BBDO Lanka. At the latter orgnisation he also worked as a Junior  Art Director. Kasun was a  Performance Artist at the Art Bienaal in 2016 and at a Theertha Performance Platform in 2015.

At the former he carried a gold painted commode and spoke in an unintelligible language to  portray the confusion we feel when we come across a societal force which  we don’t understand.

Kasun portrayed himself as an unknown force and spoke unintelligibly to create confusion among the audience to illustrate his point.

A teacher by profession, Pathirana now teaches at the Bandaranaike Maha Vidyalaya, Mirigama. He says that the present education system is not conducive to teaching or learning. The available facilities are inadequate and the competitiveness among students is a great obstacle to the development of creativity and independent thinking he says.

For relaxation Kasun watches movies and does a great deal of reading. Much of his reading is on art.

He is also a person who is very proud of his Sri Lankan identity and treasures it.  The influence of traditional Sinhala architectural styles can be seen his work.

As for the future the development of his art is this very talented artist’s goal.

Kasun expressed his grateful thanks to all who have mentored and helped him.