Chandana's symphony in lines
ART: Chandana Ranaweera's eighth exhibition of paintings
entitled Rekha Gee will be held at Mahagedara, Alawwa on December 16 and
17. It will be opened by S. M. Jayatilake, art teacher at Royal
International School, Kurunegala and author B. M. Ratnayake. There will
be 40 line drawings on view.
While on a journey, you at times take a turn and come upon a vista
that overwhelms you by its unexpected allure.
An equivalent surprise and astonishment stun you, when you stand in
the presence of Chandana Ranaweera's latest array of creations.
His new bouquet of monochrome pen sketches moves you by its
unexpectedness and startling freshness. You invariably keep on asking
yourself, "Can such an evolution take place, within so brief a span of
Artist Chandana Ranaweera's current state of maturity could very well
be described as "miraculous", without even a trace of hyperbole.
ARTIST: Chandana Ranaweera
In the presence of a development of this kind, one cannot help but
Chandana has reached this peak, not by adding or by elaborating, but
entirely by discarding and abandoning.
In his marvellously eloquent and mature lines, that create his new
works Chandana Ranaweera has emerged into a state of liberating
lightness, by emerging aesthetically out of his previous phases of
In effect, artist Chandana Ranaweera, has admirably succeeded in
extracting the living and palpitating essence of the forms of life he
has opted to single out as his central themes.
Quite aptly, artist Chandana Ranaweera, titles this display as "Rekha
Gee" (Symphony in Lines).
Although the intention is far from effecting a comparison, Chandana's
linear portrayals, seem, at least faintly, to echo the spare lines
Picasso resorted to, in the most mature phase of his distinguished
Chandana infuses a riveting liveliness to the spare lines, through
which he dramatises personalities and situations. The artist introduces
a series of sketches relating to a ritual performance.
This series includes dancers, flutists and drummers. In his
disciplined linear economy, Chandana captures the telling detail
imparting a vivid authenticity to his subject.
The artist, quite deftly communicates a believability to the actions
and poses of the performers, giving the impression, that, a graphic
moment has been preserved for all time.
What really elevates Chandana's sketches into high art, is his keen
chronicling eye, that detects even the characteristic whimsicalities of
these persons, evoking in some instances, a subdued chuckle.
The two drummers, standing in front of the ritual structure, face
each other in an attitude of challenging friendliness. Here, the spirit
of the cordial contest comes through with a remarkable sense of reality.
The works on display are the products, exclusively of pen and ink.
Disciplining the lines, utilizing such recording material, is possible
only to an artist of substantial maturity.
Artist Chandana resorts to his lines to sketch an occasional sur-realistic
portrait. His piece titled 'Mother and Son - 1", is the outcome of the
creative meeting of the abstract and the real. The twin work of this
sketch, titled this time as "Mother and Child II" is closer in style to
IN TUNE: Two drummers
Artist Chandana utilizes his linear medium, to explore the "inner
being" of even plants and trees.
His sketch of a "cassuarina tree" (vetakeyya) is the reflective of
the inner soul" of this plant.
An outstanding creation in this series is the piece titled "Oru"
(canoes). Two outrigger-canoes with their sails spread ride the high
seas under the rays of the relentless sun. In this you almost "see" the
two crafts sailing along responding to the ups and downs of the waves
The two disciplined monks, identical in pose and demeanour, exude a
sense of tranquillity, that nearly touches the viewers.
The aura of enlightened serenity, associated with the Buddha, is
exquisitely projected by artist Chandana Ranaweera in his spare sketch,
titled "Budurajananvahansa" (The Supreme Enlightened Buddha).
The moon and stars that form the austere background, emphasize the
eternal presence of the Supreme Enlightened Buddha.
Each individual piece, in artist Chandana's current collection,
speaks eloquently of a sustained period of contemplation and practice.
The seeming ease of execution, conveyed by artist Chandana's sketchs, is
the exquisite outcome of the discipline he has assiduously pursued.
His creative explorations have brought him today, to a haven of
unparalleled excellence. By any standard of assessment, either national
or international, artist Chandana's latest efforts belong in the elitist
tradition of art.
The highest tribute we can offer to artist Chandana Ranaweera is to
lavish attention and contemplation upon his works on display, exploring
the multiple facets of his creativity.
A special note should be added about artist Chandana Ranaweera's keen
eye for the whimsical.
The most outstanding in this category, to my mind, is the sketch of
the two owls, contemplating the world with a quizzical and enquiring
Artist Chandana Ranaweera has bequeathed upon the world of art-lovers
a sustained gallery of pen-sketches, that will remain indelibly in the
inner recesses of the minds of the viewers long after their first
meeting with these creations.