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DateLine Wednesday, 20 June 2007

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Hemantha brings forth untold poem in the sky

UNTOLD BEAUTY OF THE SKY: An image taken at 9.30 a.m. in Kandy.

PHOTOGRAPHY: We all like to engage in something new and unusual to make our mark in society. New creations breed different ideas and skills. Not only does it enhance inborn talent but it also inspires its viewers, directing them towards a new way of thinking.

Hemantha Arunasiri is one such individual who falls into this category. He will be holding an exhibition of photography at the Lionel Wendt Gallery from June 22 to 24.

Titled ‘The sky - a poem’, there will be a large collection of images of the sky at dawn, noon, eve, dusk, on cloudy days, in clear weather, in gloom and in the rain. These photographs will be exhibited in a manner which reflects the colour change from day time to night (around 5 a.m. to 10.30 p.m.).

The event is organised by the Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts and Hector Peries, president of the Society of Contemporary Arts and Crafts, will be chief guest at the opening ceremony. Why did you choose such an unusual subject?

“The idea of it being an unusual subject itself captivated me. Many people do not base their photographs on such themes. Their inspirations derive from either human activities or natural landscapes.

These are objects which capture the eye directly but I was inspired to look at objects from a different angle. If you observe the sky carefully there are many things to learn. For instance, clouds differ according to the climate and geography.

I have travelled to about 12 areas in the island like Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Walimada, Bandarawela, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Hambantota and Udawalawe to take these photographs,” Arunasiri replied.

Hemantha had captured many varieties of clouds on his lens: strands, flat, thick and in groups.

According to him the clouds take different shapes, travel with different speed and rhythms. At times the distance between two clouds may be a few feet but sometimes they may be many kilo meters apart. The colour reflections change according to this distance. That is why there are many poetic values threaded with the clouds in the sky.


“These are actually photographic paintings. We see the sky as a flat surface that is far from the truth. Normally we photographers capture spectrums of visuals in 360 degrees. I moved away from this method and tilted my lens upwards towards a slightly higher angle,” he explained.

‘The sky - a poem’ is Hemantha’s second solo exhibition. His first exhibition was held three years ago based on the subject of tree bark.

“I was able to focus my camera close to the tree. Therefore my lens was about eight square inches apart from the object. Then I blew up the image to about 400 percent of its original size. I was able to reveal certain aspects which were invisible to the naked eye,” he said adding that in the current exhibition his focus is on objects far away from him.

This exceptional photographer was educated at Dharmaraja College, Kandy. He said that the natural environment of his school and home town set the foundation to his photographic career.

“I learnt photography under the Up Country Photographic Society, guided by D.G. Ranatunga, Vijitha Wickramaratne and Susantha Kandadarage. Then I became a student of Lal Hegoda at the Hegoda School of Photography in Colombo.

Sarath Perera trained me in art photography. My main theme is colour, form and texture. I will be continuing this theme under a different subject in the future,’ he concluded.


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