Daily News Online

Wednesday, 2 June 2010



Vesak exhibition of paintings

Presented by the Sri Lanka Presidential Secretariat and the Gangaramaya Vihara, Hunupitiya Colombo from May 27th to June 5th 2010 10 a.m. onwards

On the occasion of this year’s Vesak Celebrations, the Gangaramaya Viharaya at Hunupitiya Colombo in association with the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka, is presenting a comprehensive Exhibition of Buddhist Paintings of Sri Lanka. It is Vesak that takes Buddhist paintings and other works of art to the people in the street. The traditional Vesak thorana (pandal) has been the fundamental method by which this is done, with the depiction of episodes from the life of the Buddha, Jataka tales and stories of the history of our nation. The aim of such Buddhist cultural activities during Vesak is to evoke serene joy in people enabling reflection on the virtues of the Buddha.

A visual pilgrimage

This exhibition of photo images of Buddhist paintings will take one on a visual pilgrimage of many viharas and historic sites with exquisite paintings, providing an overview of the overflowing richness of our nation’s cultural tradition.

In parallel will be the presentation of a documentary film with a considerable amount of information on the nation’s traditional paintings serving as a resource for those interested in learning more about this excitingly rich visual cultural heritage of our country. These paintings reveal vividly the richness of imagination, creativity, artistic sense and inspiration of our artists, past and present.

Found in thousands of Buddhist temples all over the country, Buddhist paintings reflect a wonderful integration of aesthetics and spirituality. The photographic work presented at this exhibition is the result of in-depth study of ancient paintings produced on different surfaces or planes. The photographic method has been used to identify and highlight spacial aspects and segments of exquisite ancient Buddhist paintings that are of outstanding artistic quality and aesthetic appeal.

Comprehensive exhibition

The exhibition presents as selection of about 450 photographs of paintings that adorn a diversity of viharas and historic sites including those designated by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

These paintings are associated with a period that exceeds 2200 years, from 3rd Century BCE to the 21st Century.

Included are paintings found on a diversity of surfaces, such as ancient cave and rock surfaces, walls including relic chamber walls inside stupas, ceilings, statues and related structures, on doors and other wooden surfaces including ‘ola’ palm-leaf manuscript covers, pirith mandapas, clay and earthenware, and on textiles. Paintings featured reflect varied art styles, approaches and traditions.

Exhibits will be accompanied by narrative scripts outlining the history and major distinguishing elements of works produced in different period of artistic traditions in the country. The themes of most paintings highlight the life, previous lives and teachings of the Buddha.

Impact and expectation

Visual presentations of this nature are bound to bring about increased awareness and appreciation of the richness of our cultural heritage and should be of particular interest and significance to our younger generation.


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