Salome Nanayakkara

In our search for new, exciting and out-of-this-world works of art, we came across a ‘metal-doodler’ who took us into an alternate universe taken over by mothbots and copperflies. So we asked her to share her story:

From part-time hobby to full-time job, Salome Nanayakkara introduces ‘metal doodling’. Picking apart intricate metal fragments from ruined metal devices, and then piecing them to the tune and shape of miniature bots. The metal inspired, self-taught artist works to create, bend and instil life into metal. With her belt of power tools and magic in her fingers, Salome is a crafter and a DIY machine. Her love for metal evolves from its flexibility and ability to take a form that is more subjective – to create unique works of art only she knows the secret to. From painting the queen of hearts onto brass twisting wires to mould to meaning, she constructs a distinct canvas that stands out from the rest. Salome’s passion began from the heart, both literally and metaphorically – her first ever metal sculpture was a metal heart – and continues to transpire into the irreplaceable objects, hung as ornaments, decorative pieces and personal possessions.

Ever heard of entomology or taxidermy? While both those tasks involve real bugs and insects, Salome’s lie more along the lines of metal. From cogs, crowns and barrels, these bots are created, each one unique and no two the same. So what sets these metal sculptures apart from the rest? Salome’s bots live in a parallel universe – or so she says - there’s an alternate universe not too far, ruled by ‘mothbots’ and ‘copperflies. Some of the species include, emerald bay bots, aquamarine dragonflies, amethyst bots, rust mothbots, turtle mothbots, fireflybots, green crystal mothbots, mechanical mothbots, copperflies, time-keeper bots, and blue-speckled mothbots. It is said that the amethyst bots began at the core of the Earth where they fought their own sticky plasma demons and burst out of their cocoon where they spread their wings and took flight. Salome concocts a story for each of her creations to bring them to life, and it is one the significant features that keep her fans hooked.

Metal sculpting is not a new concept. Egyptian metal treasures and artefacts are known to have survived the pyramids, such as metal statues, jewellery, gold ornaments, coins and funeral masks. The Greece and Rome statues were cast in Bronze, while the ancient Americans made copper hatchets and ceremonial implements. In fact, the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour is created from copper and wrought iron. Salome’s fascination with metal led her to create her own works of art. She uses bullets and metal wires, cookie cutters and circuit boards, any piece of scrap metal she finds, ends up in another spectacular creation, miniature or otherwise.

The elemental nature of metals means that they can be reused and recycled. The ability to recycle metals allows opportunities to conserve resources, reduce energy usage and minimise waste disposal, all of which represent important contributions to sustainable development. Salome’s reuse of metal from broken watches, damaged technological devices or even unusable cooking utensils puts forth the notion and idea of reusing and managing waste. She efficiently uses scrap metal in the way that she takes these dilapidated, tumbledown and neglected objects to turn them into a work of art – to create beauty out of ruin, while contributing to society in a way that helps sustain these materials for a developed future where our environment is concerned.

After Salome Nanayakkara finishes intricately piecing these unique fragments in intriguing sequences, she tucks them into frames and these bots spread their wings, into new homes leaving Salome’s legacy in spaces on Earth; metaphorical footsteps and imprints in a new place, a different world. And her story will live on.

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.

8th June, 2019 Visual Art | Paintings