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Different strokes

The art of Chandana Ranaweera:

Aloof and above to many artists, Chandana Ranaweera has opted to do what he likes doing most. Throwing away his palette, he has picked up simple black-nosed pen to create images that are interesting and creative.

It is the free-flow of his fingers that set him apart from the rest. His interest for abstract art disappeared which swiftly led to non-figurative constructed art. It is impudence for me to call his geometric forms suggestive to other forms of art artists put on palette but rather to say that he has stamped his own identity.


Moonlit Sonata by Chandana Ranaweera (Pen on canvas)

Chandana takes me back to my childhood when I used to frolic on smudge painting and I can recall drawing lines in all angles with wet black crayon my mother used to put before me I used to smudge them between folded paper.

Even as a child, black on white fascinated me over blobs of colour other kids at my age indulged in. But Chandana is far removed from smudge painting. It is like that he unwinds a ball of black thread on white canvas, diagonally and horizontally to create his visions. Most of them are mythological.

He also strokes them into scenes, sunset and moonlit sonatas. It is the discerning art lover who will stop by to study his art and end up being enthralled by its unique effect. His signature is the straight line which he does in a free flow. One might say it is more difficult than using a brush.

Optical

His art can be termed as an abbreviation to optical and play on the human mind with geometrical precision. He makes the eye switch between lines in order to grasp what is on his canvas. Not appealing as nature studies or for that matter, portraiture, Chandana confines himself to what he thinks is his own world of art. One must appreciate his courage to stand up to other painters whose works go on exhibitions with more aplomb.

Inspired by the modernity and the physical intervention of many modes, he has confined himself to the depiction of his art. He attempts to speak to the viewer through the lines and convey the beauty of a single line.


Mythological Hindu God (Pen on canvas)

He defines humanity in terms of its relation to his own environment and in stroking such visions, he moves over to monasteries, temples, etc. to find inspiration in a tangle of strokes. His faith in his pen and canvas is extraordinary and said that, I myself, find a mystery in his art.

He does not aim at the collector in his medium but if I was to recall the temple murals he painted earlier, he has incorporated those very ideas in line drawing. Though his art lacks a visual imagination, he dispels the myth that it is colour and only colour that makes up a piece of art.

The typical talented Sri Lankan who dare to break away from convention, Chandana has stood tall in his convictions. He is a part of the Sri Lankan artistic heritage in his own terms and has played his part in developing another mode of art.

Chandana Ranaweera hails from the picturesque Alauwwa and has held many successful exhibitions in his home town as well as in Colombo.

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