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 time?"


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 feel enthralled.

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 ornate expression.

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 career.

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.

High art

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 realism.

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 lapping them.

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 mien.

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.


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