COLLECTOR'S DESK EDITION SIX
Art, Life & Politics of Aubrey Collette
The sixth edition of Collector’s Desk organized by ARTRA Magazine and Saskia Fernando Gallery in partnership with The Residences at One Galle Face, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts was held on the 25th of May at the Saskia Fernando Gallery. The event was a much awaited installment of a series of curated art events that take place in the form of quarterly art talks, panels, tours and presentations by eminent international and local professionals in the field of art. The latest edition of the series focused on the art, life and politics of renowned Sri Lankan artist and cartoonist from the ‘43 Group, Aubrey Collette, with a special talk of reminiscence delivered by his daughter, Cresside Collette.
Cresside’s talk was mainly a recollection of her personal relationship with the famed artist and the legacy he left behind. She began by delivering a short summary of his life and times until his passing away in 1992. Aubrey Collette was born in 1920 in Ceylon as the youngest child of photographer Jos Collette, to a family replete with creativity and a keen taste for art. He received his education from Royal College, Colombo and was later appreciated for his talents when he was appointed as art master in the school. Collette was fortunate enough to work closely with and learn from celebrated artist David Paynter alongside his friend Ivan Peries. In 1943, Ivan and Collette approached Lionel Wendt with the idea of forming the alternative painting fraternity, the ‘43 Group, that was to become Ceylon’s first Modern Art movement. Successful exhibitions in London, Paris and the Venice Biennale of Collette’s work put Ceylonese art on the International map. Cresside described her father’s early work done in collaboration with the 43 Group as “innovative, individual and experimental” leading to a ‘renaissance’ in the contemporary art scene in Ceylon.
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