HARMONIZING ART ON GUITAR
ARTRA’s Top 10 of Artist Challenge l Art on Products l Instruments of Non - Destruction
Instruments of Non Destruction presents the fusion of two of the most powerful forms of art- aural and visual art, providing the paintbrush ample space to commingle and interact with the tunes and tones. Expressive strokes on raw guitar bodies unite two mediums of artistic expression and culminate in a vigorous commentary brought out subtly yet prominently. It is this innovative approach to the aesthetic that drew us to celebrate Instruments of Non Destruction as the winner of ARTRA’s artist challenge under the category arts on products. We applaud Instruments of Non Destruction’s ability to broaden the horizons and explore the novel aesthetic realms through this timely and contemporary fusion of art, and the powerful messages it conveys both aurally and visually.
Instruments of Non Destruction is the fruit of the collaboration between Shaanea Mendis D’Silva, a well-known Sri Lankan artist, and her friend Rory Stalwick, an American national who has been collecting and commissioning Shaanea’s work since 2017, along with his wife Tiffany. Rory is a musician and builds his own guitars; it was his idea that the visual artist in Shaanea could do wonders to these guitars with the help of her color palette and the paintbrush. And thus was born Instruments of Non Destruction. The visual artist of Instruments of Non Destruction, previously featured on ARTRA December 2018 E39 Interpreting Living Art, Shaanea Mendis D’Silva is a contemporary artist who finds inspiration in nature and the sociopolitical reality of the society. A highly philosophical and intellectual artist herself, Shaanea’s artworks can be described as apt and complex interpretations of social realities and power dynamics that none can escape from. She has solo exhibited at the Barefoot Gallery, the Lionel Wendt, and the Bombay Art Society in Mumbai. Her journey as an artist also includes being featured at the Silent Auction in 2015 at the Saskia Fernando Gallery, and more recently at Crimson Spaces Gallery; she has further been selected to participate in workshops supported by the British Council, EUNIC /Colomboscope, Prohelvetia Swiss Arts Council and Theertha Red Dot Gallery.
“Instruments of Non Destruction is more than a combination of craft and product. I wanted to do more than just paint and draw and visually alter the appearance of this guitar. I realized how powerful it would be to combine these two art forms to create something that was a powerful tool, to spread a message,” Shaanea says. Indeed, its specialty stems from the fact that it is more than a beautifully painted guitar, that it is able to do much more. What drew us to celebrate Shaanea and Rory is their ability to create a musical instrument equipped with art that has the potential to reach the audience on a deeper level, unlike any other musical instrument. Guitars produced by Instruments of Non Destruction differs from all the other musical instruments in the sense that they fuse two powerful mediums and spread dual messages simultaneously; the tunes convey a particular message while the art on the instrument conveys another. The vieweraudience thus becomes the consumer of two distinctly different art forms at once as they are invited not only to indulge in the music but also to decode and ponder along the brush strokes placed on the guitar by Shaanea. We further applaud Instruments of Non Destruction for creating a powerful tool capable of reaching a vast audience that will be offered the privilege of witnessing a spectacle of finest artistry that caters to all the corporeal and abstract senses simultaneously. Instruments of Non Destruction aids the artist to create a display on stage where multiple art forms come in solidarity to form a spectacle; the music of the musician, the entertaining performance, and the visual display on the guitar manifest as an assemblage of art forms providing the consumer with once-in-a-lifetime experience, drawing us to recognize Instruments of Non Destruction as the winner of ARTAR’s artist challenge.
Instruments of Non Destruction accounts for an array of thought-provoking artworks that have an audiovisual appeal. Currently, Shaanea is working on three jaguar guitars provided by Rory. The visual appeal of these guitars culminates as the evolution of Shaanea's previous series of works named Cellscapes and Regeneration. Shaanea marks that “Instruments of Non Destruction is at its earliest phase.” She believes it is the process that is the essence of what makes it powerful; therefore, she documents the process of Instruments of Non Destruction -how it came to being and how it will evolve in the future, through the Instagram page 'instruments_of_non_destrution'. Her artworks invite the viewer to reflect upon how every element and being existing on the planet is made of minute particles, sometimes invisible to the naked eye, and yet belong to larger structures that encompass everything. Her work with Instruments of Non Destruction takes this message a step further, connecting the ubiquitous power and sensuality of music with it.