INTERPRETING LIVING ART
Shaanea Mendis D'Silva
Artist Shaanea Mendis D’Silva is celebrated for her intricate detailing and technique of innate biological processes of nature on canvas. Shaanea’s most recent solo exhibition, ‘Regeneration’ held at Barefoot Gallery from October 11th to November 4th is a notable milestone in her exploration of this signature style, where she utilizes the symbolism of intricately detailed cellscapes to delineate the gruesome reality of urban regeneration in Colombo. The intense connection Shaanea’s art shares with nature and its biological undertakings is what drew us to recognise her artistic process.
Shaanea attended art classes at the age of four. She also studied art for her A/L's and further pursued her study at the LASALLE College of Arts in Singapore, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2007. Her first solo exhibition was ‘Something Old, Something New, None are Borrowed, Some are Blue’, held at the Harold Pieris Gallery in 2012. She recalls being in an artistic conundrum at the time of this first exhibition, which she attempted to convey through her work. “I enjoyed doing more traditional painting in the form of figurative drawing, but I was also interested in intricate drawings that were inspired by nature. It was a style I had been developing over time. So this first solo exhibition was a combination of both these sides of me”. She later devolved completely into a creative engagement with nature, in the exhibitions that followed: ‘Cellscapes’ (2015), ‘Cellscapes II’ (2017), and finally in her most recent ‘Regeneration’.
Shaanea’s work that has resulted from this intimate connection with nature explores the concept of the cellscape. “So it started out as these monochrome pen and ink drawings of the patterns and intricate textures influenced by nature since childhood. I was fascinated by our country's beauty thus observing things closely including the patterns on leaves, barks and skin. Even now, I connect with them strongly". Shaanea, as an artist, evidently participates in a seamless, meditative process that organically transfers these details onto the canvas.
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