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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

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Still waters run deep

They say still waters run deep. This is true of Karunasiri Wijesinghe. There is a certain stillness and quietness about him and yet when you look at his paintings you feel that there are depths to this man.

A soft spoken and unassuming man Karunasiri is modest. Yet his achievements speak volumes. He is also a man who has an almost spiritual connection with water; with nature. He himself questions why we are so fascinated with water.

So states Wijesinghe:

Karunasiri Wijesinghe

“Since the beginning of time, it (water) has been seen as a symbol of life and regarded as prima materia- the prime substance of the universe. Life developed out of the sea, the human foetus is surrounded and protected by amniotic fluid and our body consists of about 65% water. Water is associated with life energy. Recent research by Dr. Masaru Imoto not only confirmed this life energy aspect , but revealed the fascinating behavior of water particles, not visible to the naked eye : water was found to be a bearer of information , human thought and word affect the quality of water and vice versa.

This fact has been known it seems to many ancient civilizations.

Water has many facets in community cultural life. It is the purifier, the Life Giver, a Symbol of Fertility and a Symbol of the Transfer and Destruction of Evil. In fact Water is at the centre of cultural and religious life of all Sri Lankan ethnicities and religions .

From birth to death, in all important events of a person’s life, water plays a central role and is vested with deep symbolic and ritualistic signification.”

The main body of Karunasiri’s work has been described as a profound cultural response to one salient theme and that is nature. The last two years have been an intensive period of work for Karunasiri during which he produced 12 canvases of oil and 16 drawings on paper.

“Behind each of Karu’s works, one can sense the long hours and days that the artist has spent contemplating trees and forests. One cannot fail to feel the presence of a silent and penetrating mind behind these works. The serene mood that these drawings have thus acquired endows them with meditative connotation, elevating them to a higher status of beauty,” said Professor Jagath Weerasinghe.

Academic Background

1982- BFA obtained from Institute of Aesthetic Studies, University of Kelaniya from 1996 to 2009, Lecturer at the Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts (VAFA), Sri Lanka.

2003- 2005 - Visiting Lecturer at the Sri Palee Campus, University of Colombo

Solo Exhibitions:

2007- Drawings and Pyrography Exhibition at Lionel Wendt Art Gallery Sri Lanka
2006- “Prakurthi” Drawing and Pyrography Exhibition , Lionel Wendt Art Gallery Sri Lanka
2005- “Tree Life”- Drawing and Pyrography Exhibition, Deutsch Bank , Koln Germany
2004 - “Seen and Unseen”- Cycle of Paints; Response to works by two Major Poets, BMICH lobby:

1995- Vanarekha – Drawing Exhibition, British Council, Kandy, Sri Lanka
1995 - Vanarekha - Drawing Exhibition , National Art Gallery, Colombo
1988 – First Solo Exhibition , Drawings and Paintings, Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, Colombo

AWARDS:

1987- Best Book Cover of the Year, State Literary Festival
2005- Bunka Award 2005 (for Visual Arts) Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund.

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