'ANOMA', WRITTEN IN ART
There are countless ways to celebrate artists – one such way by documenting art, building a memory that exists throughout time. Anoma Wijewardene is a distinguished artist, but ‘Anoma’ is also a monograph. And we’re here to tell you just how cool this book is!
1. A REVERED ARTIST
Renowned Sri Lankan contemporary artist, Anoma Wijewardene is known for her exceptionally painted works of art and her capacity to be authentic, original and relative while including key subjects such as climate change, sustainability, inclusivity and reconciliation. Through solo exhibitions, trilingual exhibitions and group exhibitions, Anoma reflects her concern for the future generations of our planet. Trilingual exhibitions that showcased her art include, Mi Casa Es Tu Casa, EarthLines, Deliverance, Aqua, Phoenix and Quest which were inspired due to her passion and determination to save what we were given. Anoma studied and worked in the UK for thirty years as a designer and artist. She held solo and group exhibitions in Colombo, London, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney and Singapore. She produced solo exhibitions in Gallery stores including Wright and Teague in London, The One and Only in the Maldives, Stellar Downer Gallery in Sydney, Gallery Taksu in Kuala Lumpur, Art Heritage in New Delhi, Paradise Road Gallery and Barefoot Gallery in Sri Lanka and she currently works in England.
2. A MONOGRAPH OF MEANING
‘Anoma’, a monograph written in the name of, and dedicated to Anoma Wijewardene took seven years to create. But they say hard work reaps great rewards and we witness this monograph a tremendous result. Written, designed, and produced by a group of writers, academics, editors, and art directors from around the world, the book provides an intimate view into the life and work of Anoma, glimpsing into and understanding the elements that moulded her ideas, the thought process, and her art. The book consists of work from fifty years of the artist’s paintings, installations and designs, while also including essays by writers from Sri Lanka, India and the UK, comprising scripts from Professor Emeritus Gananath Obeyesekere, Princeton University, USA; and Professor Emerita Jane Rapley, New Delhi-based art writer and former editor-in-chief of Blouin Artinfo India, Rosalyn D’Mello, and Jana Manuelpillai of the Noble Sage Art Collection. Richard Simon, Sri Lankan writer contributed with words and editing of the book.The unique monograph is a collection of over 250 images of Anoma’s art and photographs from her life.
3. BLENDING ART AND EARTH
Painting is a gift, each picture portrayed with either an underlying meaning or blatant discussion. Inspired by the real world, a painting is a world of its own, glimpsed from the eyes of the artist. Anoma Wijewardene, a mastermind and painter, creates art, radiant and intricate, designed through enticing subjects; matters that are one with Earth, showcasing and unveiling – blending art and Earth, her paintings depict a struggle showing Anoma’s acknowledgement of a failing system and her endeavour to fix it. Anoma Wijewardene’s work instils meaning, clearing a space for a soul to exist. Her art has been showcased in many international cities including London, New Delhi, Dubai and Sydney through mediums of video and sculpture, including collaborations with poets, writers, composers, performers, activists, and developmental and environmental experts.
4. ARTISANAL GIN GOES WELL WITH GOOD ART
The launch for ‘Anoma’ hosted more than just a few inspiring individuals. Ryan Chetiwardana, the world’s most awarded bartender named a cocktail after the celebrated artist. Infused with tastes from her childhood in Sri Lanka and life in London, the drink, also dubbed ‘Anoma’ consist of ingredients such as coconut, butterfly pea powder, curry leaf, cinnamon, lemongrass, kalamata olives, and red pickled star fruit. The concoction ranges from Sri Lankan spices to light fruit flavours producing a sophisticated palette that’s both nostalgic and complex. This collaboration drew the opportunity for the process of art-making and the creation of a very special artisanal gin.
5. PHENOMENAL ART, TAKES OFF
The monograph launch took place at Central Saint Martins – a space made up of an ever-changing network of cultures, backgrounds and experiences. Professor Emerita Jane Rapley OBE, former Head of College at Central Saint Martins and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Arts London shared words of admiration for Anoma’s works of art and the progress that led her to success. Chris Sanderson, co-founder of UK’s leading trend forecasting and consumer insight consultancy ‘The Future Laboratory’ also spoke, of Anoma’s challenging energy and force as a painter and a person. Jana Manuelpillai, one of the many intellectual contributors to the monograph pointed out Anoma’s endeavour and “full circle of Anoma’s journey in art, which started at CSM.” Central Saint Martins, established in 1869, is part of the University of the Arts London, which is the largest provider of creative education in Europe. Known to be titled the Oxbridge of Art and Design include a successful alumni range across many disciplines from artists Anthony Gormley, Richard Long to fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney; from actors Michael Fassbender, Pierce Brosnan and Gwendoline Christie to singers M.I.A and Paul Simonson and industrialist Sir James Dyson; as well as Sri Lankan politician Mangala Samaraweera, and inevitably, Anoma herself.
Anoma Wijewardena’s art will be known for her persuasion and intent to make this world a better place. Anoma, the artist, the monograph and her works of art exist as a reminder to save the earth from climate change, lack of sustainability, and lack of reconciliation.
ARTRA is Sri Lanka’s Art Magazine exploring curated content on Sri Lanka’s visual art, performance art, applied art and written art. Launched in 2012, ARTRA Magazine is a compact monthly art read providing a comprehensive understanding on Sri Lankan artists, art events, monthly art calendars and the Sri Lankan design landscape. In sum, all you need to know about art in Sri Lanka.