Art Exhibition by Sanjeewa Kumara
Sanjeewa Kumara’s lastest exhibition, “Talking Pictures,” grapples with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic: its immediate impact on our everyday lives, its revelations about inequalities that had escaped notice or been hidden away from the public eye, and the fear of the unknown that we have all become much too familiar with. Questions outweigh any sense of certainty – do we return to normalcy or do we tear the status quo down, and rebuild? In a time when connection is limited – and potentially dangerous – we look toward shared symbols, traditions, art, and music, rooting ourselves in these shared cultural experiences in order to feel connected to our communities.
Born in 1971 in Colombo, Sanjeewa Kumara began his artistic training at the University of Kelaniya in 1999, completing his Master of Fine Arts at the Dutch Art Institute in the Netherlands in 2003. As a visiting lecturer at both the University of Kelaniya and the University of Visual and Performing Arts in Sri Lanka, Sanjeewa believes in sharing the knowledge that he has acquired in his career as an artist. Sanjeewa has had work displayed internationally, from Austria and Germany to New York and London. He has represented Sri Lanka at the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh and in the Netherland’s Gallery Art Korner’s selection of “Recent Developments in Contemporary Sri Lankan Paintings.” He was a finalist for the 2015 Sovereign Asian Art Prize in Hong Kong and has earned a name for himself through his unique use of both local and universal symbols which come together to create works that are layered in the artist’s own life, the country he grew up in, and the stories he has learnt along the way. The artist’s works were also featured on ARTRA’s Online Gallery, an online showcase of artists’ works from across the nine provinces of Sri Lanka.
Sanjeewa’s latest exhibition does not claim to have the answers to all of our questions, and instead, his work reveals his unconscious – attempting to unearth his own questions and reveal the unknown scars of the pandemic, oozing out of his mind directly onto his paintings and drawings. Sanjeewa surrenders himself to the physical moment of painting, eschewing formulation, planning, and presketching to mimic the upheaval and loss of orientation all of our communities are facing today. His alien dreamscapes are the product, not of his hand or mind, but of his unconscious.
Sanjeewa calls his works “pictures” rather than “paintings” to highlight how they are not limited by their medium; instead, they transcend material boundaries – projecting outward and guiding the viewer to look inward. It is this very interactivity and conversation that makes him a regular at Paradise Road Galleries exhibitions – this will be his 15th solo exhibition with Paradise Road Galleries in the space of 25 years. “Talking Pictures” by Sanjeewa Kumara will be held at the Gallery Café from the 11th of February to the 4th of March 2021.