TRANSCENDENCE OF LIFE
George Beven at 90 Seven Decades of Art
When George Beven created the feature painting on this page on the 21st of April in 1987, it was his response to the slaughter of the innocent, by a minority threatened by the majority as a result of their distorted view of the world. Little did he know then that 32 years later, another attack on the innocent, on the very same day, would make his work not dated but current. The painting at the time in 1987, inspired Wolfgang Stange to create a video performances with students of the Chitra Lane School and young actors from the Somalatha Subasinghe Youth Theatre. The students discussed the painting and the pain of surviving family members, who were suddenly robbed of their loved ones. The painting depicts the grieving of the Negombo fisher women, over a dead child‘s body surrounded by white coffins, embodying the petals of the white temple flowers.
Art Exhibition George Beven at 90, Seven Decades of Art opened at Barefoot Gallery on the 23rd of August, displaying a series of works of the artist from varied periods of his life. George Beven is one of the very few modernist artists still producing work in contemporary times. He was born in 1929 in Negombo and having spent a lifetime discovering landscape and portraiture, experimenting with colour, a pictorial trend in modern Sri Lankan art during the 20th century, the artist developed his skills alongside generations of renowned artists. Best known as a figurative painter who occasionally went into abstract paintings, George prefers to interpret what he sees in front of him through unconventional colours. During his monotone period of which his toothbrush paintings belonged in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, revolved around portraits, mainly of famous artists of the time including Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov who all signed their portraits, and Hollywood legends such as Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, her daughter Liza Minnelli, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Sylvester Stallone. The most recognised one is, of course, his portrait of Princess Margaret that was hung at Kensington Palace. In conversation with George Beven, we explored his interests, influences and inspirations.
“Art is unique as it allows individuality, not only in the artist, but the viewer of the artist’s work. Art makes us think, contemplate and refresh our senses. Without Art, all the Arts, including Music, Dance, Theater, the world would be a poorer place. Art is creation...
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