William walked into the National Art Gallery. As he walked silently
through the hallways observing the paintings around him and was
awestruck by the creations of Sri Lankan artists.
It was almost like he was looking through windows. Each window
offering a glimpse the mind of the painter. He was transfixed by the
‘The Stalking’, the painting of a bronze skinned nude girl by the pond
in the wilderness. The painting of the ‘Proposal’ was almost like a
string reaching out from a human hand and wrapping another human body in
some form of a cocoon.
‘Searching Nirvanaya’ was something like an exploding star, a galaxy,
an incredible form of lights. William sank to the ground and taking his
camera out he started taking pictures.
Searching Nirvanaya by Eranga
Wimalaratne Picture by Ishara Jayawardane
Baloch viewing the paintings. Picture by Lalith C Gamage
He then took out his cell phone and called his wife. And said, “Honey
I’m getting late for dinner. I’m in another world and I have to find my
way back to our world.”
The 16th yearly exhibition of the Nawa Kalakaruwo /Emerging New Art
and Artists – an Exhibition of Contemporary Sri Lankan Art was on
display from February 28 to March 4.
The group of artists are drawn from all parts of the country and have
emerged through the several exhibitions and presentations ‘young
contemporaries’ and from the Kala Pola of each year over the last
The opportunity for ‘art’ that these exhibitions and presentations
have provided, since the George Keyt Foundation was established in 1988,
has led to an increasing number of participants. “New Artists” emerge
each year. This year too there are first time Nawa Kalakaruwo.
“What is it that draws us towards works of art? And why is it that
some of us are more attracted to certain pieces of art? I came across a
saying by Oscar Wilde: ‘Art is the most intense mode of individualism
that the world has known’.
Therefore just as art is one individual’s creation it reaches out and
touches the chords of another individual. And it becomes a personal
conversation. And that is why some individuals are attracted to certain
pieces of art. An artist like George Keyt is therefore a gift to Sri
Lanka and has left a great tradition in his works of individual art.
But the greatest gift to Sri Lanka is the George Keyt Foundation
which is providing a platform for young artists providing an opportunity
for them to network with others. Such a foundation is indeed a blessing
for young and struggling artists. To nurture that talent and find an
avenue to display that talent.
The greatest fear of anyone and that of a young artists is the fear
There is another saying: ‘as you move towards a dream the dream moves
Towards all the artists present here tonight I would say, have
courage to follow your dream. “If you have made it to this gallery
tonight you are surely on the path to recognition,” said the Chief Guest
Pakistan High Commissioner Seema Ilahi Baloch.