Song of watercolour

by damith
March 24, 2024 1:04 am 0 comment 364 views

By Rohana Kasturi

Numbering over 50 aquarelles – watercolour paintings – executed by a master of the medium Gunasiri Kolambage assembled in this gallery are eagerly waiting to greet your eyes. Although the current century is quite young, this show may be considered as the watercolour paintings exhibition of the century, for the genius who produced these masterpieces is understandably the last link of the chain of the greatest of artists that have appeared in Sri Lanka during the past century

“Diyasayame Geethaya,” a visual arts exhibition by Gunasiri Kolombage will take place at the Lionel Wendt Art Centre, Guildford Crescent, Colombo on March 30 and 31 from 9 am to 6.30 pm.

Gunasiri Kolombage

Gunasiri Kolombage

Numbering over 50 aquarelles – watercolour paintings – executed by a master of the medium Gunasiri Kolambage assembled in this gallery are eagerly waiting to greet your eyes. Although the current century is quite young, this show may be considered as the watercolour paintings exhibition of the century, for the genius who produced these masterpieces is understandably the last link of the chain of the greatest of artists that have appeared in Sri Lanka during the past century.

Watercolour is said to be the most troublesome medium for any painter for its unamenable quality of transparency that rejects corrections; every brush stroke is a final one. It is evident from this show that this genius has mastered it as any other medium he deals with. Obstinacy has been reduced and disciplined by the master’s sharp eye and the dexterous hand. Now it is so gentle and full of charm as to singing the Song of Watercolour for you.

The painter offers great diversity to art lovers, an unbelievable variety of themes, subjects and even objects, too. Among them you see fuming lime kilns – so warm, Nuwara Eliya lake – so cool, glory of parasites, orchids and orchids and Lester James, Tissa Abeysekera, bare posterior of an Indian girl as well.

Portraits reveal his remarkable ability to depict even the skin tones. He does not render on his canvas the likeness of his subjects, wants to give them character, too. Not what he has seen, but what he has felt. The impression wants to convey his impressions. Still, it is in your way of looking at things. It is an undeniable fact that Gunasiri Kolambage, the foremost artist of the era has contributed immensely to the field of art by introducing and developing new methods and techniques in painting watercolour, oil, acrylic, gouache and related art forms.

As a young boy attending Rambukkana School, in his native area, he recollects that a wall in his home was decorated with pictures of animals, naturally hostile to each other – cat and mouse, cobra and mongoose – playing together in bonds of harmony. It could have been his father’s way of inculcating the value of coexistence in the mind of his children. Fascinated by the pictures, he began daydreaming of being an artist. Home ambience was conducive to his aspirations. His father, being a sort of connoisseur of arts in his time, was acquainted with several artists. Years later, he entered the College of Fine Arts, Colombo, and after his graduation he joined Walter Thomson Ltd in 1969. The same year, he won the 2nd prize and three consolation prizes in the Shell Painting Competition. Kolambage was now showing his colours in the contest. Leaving his job, now as Creative Director, he joined A. J. N. Seneviratne Company and subsequently Ranjith Jayasuriya Associates, both leading advertising companies at the time.

A wizard in the field of advertising, Kolambage devised many successful campaigns for some prestigious clients with most lucrative accounts in Sri Lanka. He has also worked as an Art Director for Concept Communications, Brisbane, Australia.

He participated in Exhibitions and won prizes and awards so numerous to be detailed here. He has travelled widely in Europe and Australia. The creative output of this genius is enormous, yet his indefatigable hand is always ready for more work. He says it’s the mission in his life.

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