Anusha Gajaweera | Barefoot Gallery

Artist Anusha Gajaweera's latest exhibition 'Hammer and Nails' centers around the idea of how everyday tools are both instruments of creation while also being weapons of destruction. In his art, these tools oscillate between being utensils that create beautiful, playful shapes with being symbols of unceasing violence that plague our society.

Anusha Gajaweera, born in Sri Lanka, graduated in Bachelor of Fine Arts (Special), University of Visual & Performing Arts, Colombo in 2008 and completed his Master of Arts, University of Kelaniya in 2012. In 2017 he received his Master Class in Art certificate from the Theertha School of Art of the Theertha International Artists Collective and completed a certificate course in art history from the same institute in 2019. Since 2009 he has been working as a university lecturer in visual art in some of Sri Lanka’s universities and art institutions. He had lectured in Sri Palee Campus, University of Colombo, Vibhavi Academy of Arts, Theertha Top Studio and currently he is a visiting lecturer in University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo, Swami Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies in Eastern University and the University of Moratuwa. Anusha has participated in art exhibitions, summits and residency programs in Sri Lanka, India, Japan, New York, including the Colombo Art Biennale, the Jaipur Art Summit, ‘Setten’ at the Sojo University, Japan and Rah residency, Iran. 

The general theme of his artwork centers around the social, political and institutional power in Sri Lanka, and the struggle in social strata. As a small boy, he has been so fond of going to a carpentry-hut near his house to see the tools, and to observe hammers loudly pounding on nails of various types to connect pieces of wood together into fascinating, playful shapes.

He was just 11 years when Threema Vitharana, a medical student activist, was abducted and murdered. Large nails were put through his skull from the sides, and with ropes tied to them, he was dragged on the road and left on the side. The most brutal murder ever to hit local headlines! That was neither a beginning nor an end. Social violence still continues even after the end of the 30-year war in 2009.

So when he started thinking all these things together, he has realised that using nails to kill people has a history in the world and even Jesus Christ was also killed by nailing on the cross. So there is political and social violence, in his association with hammer and nails. And Hammer, serves two purposes related to nails. It is pounded on nail top to fix and also used to remove nail from something. 

Today in his art, these tools, hammers and nails, oscillate between his nostalgic memory of intriguingly ‘connecting’ things into playful, beautiful shapes, and the never ceasing beautified ‘violence’ of our tormented society. With a hammer and nail, the artist wants to crucify violence, so it will never resurrect !

Artist Anusha Gajaweera’s first solo exhibition at Barefoot Gallery Colombo would be on display till the 5th of July. 

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24th June, 2022 Visual Art | Paintings