‘Melting Humans’ by artist Chamila Gamage explores today’s consumerist society, which has contributed largely to the downfall of the condition, of which the pandemic is an inevitable result. The collection is one that understands society in its actuality, a visible demonstration of activities and mind-sets in the modern consumerist society and the psychological process that define human relationships. Chamila Gamage studied painting and sculpture at the University of Visual and Performing arts. He organized his own individual art exhibition in Beliaththa in 1999, after which he was selected into the University. While completing his studies at the Visual Arts Academy in the years of 1999 & 2000, he received the opportunity to associate and exchange ideas with artists Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Jagath Weerasinghe, Muhanned Cader & Kingsley Gunathillake to name a few. Chamila obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University and has had over twenty years of experience of which he’s held and participated in many exhibitions. Chamila has exhibited his work at the The Bangladesh and Sri Lanka Artist Exchange Program 2019 and displayed his work at Paradise Road Galleries. Chamila Gamage’s work has always been rooted in painting, drawing, sculpting and set designing. Through his work, Chamila has explored varying ideologies and themes, investigating our collective memory, attempting to explore universal subjects. From history, war, sexuality, gender roles, religion Chamila provides an examination into contemporary society.
Q | In your opinion, how can art help humanity during this period?
A | The elites of society paved way for over consumption of goods & resources. It made the consumption patterns of people more complex. The competition for power & wealth negatively influenced the breeding of greed within people. This period of quarantine has questioned the over complicated consumption patterns of people, allowing them to have a deeper understanding of themselves from within. I think every artwork has a deeper meaning of life hidden within it. This period has allowed more time for reflection. Art is a powerful mode of expression. Be it any form of art; a painting, a sculpture, a poem, a movie or a theatre production carries the teaching of life at its core. Indulging in art is a form of reflecting upon our own lives which now, more than ever, will provide answers to many of the questions people are facing during these challenging times.
Q | Can you explain your work ‘Melting Humans’ and what it means during this period of Covid-19 & quarantine?
A | Melting Humans is a series of sculptures which were carried away from a singular space, in contradiction to the gallery concept. Before Covid-19 pervaded humankind, we knew that the over consumption patterns were challenging human existence. Most people no longer found the dire need to protect the environment as a result of their over consumption behaviours. They were competing with each other to fulfil their greed. Humankind is forced to pause now thus transforming the concept of Melting Humans, which depicts society in its existence, dishevelled and confused, our reality. Melting Humans is therefore a representation, or rather, a narrative and study of a global modification and its effect on the people and their lifestyle, of which this pandemic situation is the result.
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