By Prageeth Manohansa

One can easily see the bright, glowing link between art and nature; for it is in nature that we create. Prageeth Manohansa’s latest exhibition ‘Ranchuwa’ takes place at The Paradise Road Galleries till the 2nd of April, 2019; a vivid navigation to the portal between art and everything that surrounds. In this exhibition Prageeth emphasizes on the particular creation of herds and flocks of birds and elephants. So, what is ‘Ranchuwa’, really?

‘Ranchuwa’ is a Sinhala translation of ‘herds and flocks’: a concept that artist, Prageeth Manohansa aims to present. In this series of work, Prageeth Manohansa infuses his studies of wildlife with movement and contrast. An artist known for his assemblage mixed media works, this exhibition delves into the synergies and forms of herds and flocks. The authenticity of nature is explored and in ‘Ranchuwa’. Understanding that he could do more by engaging with nature and creating art, the artist states that there’s much depth to be included in representing its appeal. There is much satisfaction to be sought as the artist realized he is part of an ecosystem that gives as much as it receives, particularly with regards to a cooler, natural environment the artist is allowed to work in. He transforms scrap metal and brass sheets into works that mould the movement of flocks of birds and the solidity in unison of the herd. Using minimal manipulation these works flaunt the artist’s affinity to nature and wildlife and his ability to create from mundane static material and objects. Working with charcoal and acrylic he draws with fluidity and ease, a continuation of the style in the preliminary sketches used for his early sculptural and assemblage works. Using roughly folded packing paper, these drawings also possess the patina of imperfection that has become an inherent part of the artist’s language.

Prageeth Manohansa holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts of the University of Kelaniya in Colombo. A trained landscape architect, he works with the disciplines of welding and recycling of scrap metal and found objects. Strongly influenced by Sri Lankan culture and its enthralling nature, he began work on canvas and paper in 2010 starting with an exhibition of his introductory drawings for sculpture commissions. What distinguishes Prageeth apart from other artists, is his expertise in intricately detailed sculptures and fascinating drawings.

The connection between Art and Nature has existed since early humans made their first mark on cave walls, and has been an important part of the history of art. For a wildlife artist, the understanding with nature is much more than just having a subject to invent, it's a lifelong relationship. Art is constantly driven by the attempt to bridge the distinctiveness of humans and the world. There is much to nature that cannot be seen with the naked eye. And yet, it is arguably an artist’s declaration that nature is limitless in generosity. The connections with nature extend to our own habits in being attentive to the present moment. This influences the manner in which we choose to determine our environment and the ways in which we treat it.

Art, while an outlet of expression, is also a source of inspiration. Similarly, for artist Prageeth Manohansa, nature seems to have inspired the creation of his works of art. ‘Ranchuwa’ is a collection of artworks inspired by a ‘heard or flock’ of bird and elements as seen in his sculptures and drawings. He uses metal in some pieces and ink in others to portray his interpretation of a gathering of elephants and birds. Prageeth’s attention to detail in each of his sculptures incites in the
viewer a seed for a story, encouraging to build their own interpretation. He has and always takes inspiration from nature and wildlife, evident in many of his previous works too, including sculptures of peacocks, birds, leopards and other such beings.

It takes a spectacular space to bring out the best in one’s masterpiece and The Paradise Road Gallery stands as a prominent setting to host Prageeth Manohansa’s carefully constructed works of art. Established in 1998 in the former offices of world-renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. The gallery is located throughout the premises that also houses Paradise Road, The Gallery Café. Exhibitions change monthly and present the leading contemporary artists from the island as well as South Asian contemporary artists.
There’s no other time and place to be other than at the Paradise Road Galleries to witness the remarkable innovation that’s Prageeth Manohansa’s masterpieces. So don’t miss out, head on over and be inspired.

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.

26th March, 2019 Visual Art | Sculpture