Colomboscope 2024 Meet the Artists: Anoma Wijewardene

Jan 05 2024.

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Colomboscope will be held from 19-28 January across Colombo. Colomboscope's “Way of the Forest” is shaped with over 40 Sri Lankan and international artists and collectives and is interwoven with a cross-section of programmes, conversations, excursions, performances, workshops and other experiences. Colomboscope 2024  is curated by Hit Man Gurung, Sheelasha Rajbhandari and Sarker Protick together with artistic director Natasha Ginwala. Meet some of the artists for Way of the Forest as they talk to us about their work for the festival.   

 

1  TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF.
2  DESCRIBE YOUR WORK FOR COLOMBOSCOPE 2024 AND ITS TIES WITH THE THEME - WAY OF THE FOREST?
3 WHAT'S THE INSPIRATION  BEHIND THE WORK?
4 WHAT IS YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE  IN YOUR ART?
5 WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO AT COLOMBOSCOPE AND WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE WOULD TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR WORK? 

1 My art reflects on the universality of man and our common humanity in the face of conflict, division and hate. My concern is the misuse of sentience, in the continuing conflicts in the world. My work urges tolerance and inclusivity, sustainability and harmony and invites us to accept the stewardship we share of our fragile and fractured planet.  Having studied at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London I lived in the UK for thirty years designing, painting and lecturing. I now live and paint in Sri Lanka and have had solo exhibitions in London, Dubai, Maldives, New Delhi, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney as well as in Colombo and Galle. In 2016 I showed at Sotheby's Hong Kong and in 2019 at the Venice Biennale.

2 My work for Colomboscope 2024 posits that we humans are nature and not separate from it or superior to it. My art is an invitation to love and embrace the planet and let the earth rise within us. We are indivisible, we are one. While varied in form, medium, size and content they share an abstract presence which evokes the quiet pulse of nature in an allusive and suggestive manner. Forests and trees, thunder, water, the wind and moon are implied tangentially in the images which reference the striations, swirls and movements of the natural world.

3 ‘Man has enough for his needs, but not his greed’ -Mahatma Gandhi. The inspiration is the simple fact that despite all the glaring evidence of imminent danger, we continue to rapaciously consume the resources of the earth. As the Anthropocene age gathers pace, the climate is in deep crisis and regeneration, let alone sustainability is fast becoming impossible. If we continue to greenwash, rape and pillage on the earth we will destroy life for our future generations. 

4  My work often shows elusive, fleeting human figures embedded in natural metascapes. Whether the artwork is pure paint, sculpture, digital, performance or video installation, the signature is a layering of a multitude of ideas and mediums. The images are constructed on many levels, both in terms of the variety of form and material, as well as in the thought process and structure. Words are key, and the titles lead the viewer to access the art. Poetry, music, religious scripture, science, and social comment are often layered into the art and become an intrinsic part of the work. In the spirit of inclusivity and diversity, many of the exhibitions have included the contributions of activists, scientists, poets, composers, dancers, actors and political analysts, who have each added yet another layer to my art.

5  Since 2005 when I exhibited Space in Sydney, seven solo exhibitions in several different countries have focused on the environment and the climate crisis. However, there is a sense of despair that in the ensuing twenty years the issue has become ever more urgent. I trust that these thoughts and images coming from such a varied and international group will magnify the sense of urgency and ignite in our hearts the need for more immediate action. My ever-present hope is for a restoration of our relationship with nature and each other in a harmonious and respectful co-existence.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Panchali Illankoon

Law Graduate, food and travel enthusiast and full time dog mom..

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