Making ordinary look different
By Anuradha Samarajiva
"What people step over, I notice," says Patricia Mamelka. As a photographer, it's the everyday scenes and objects that interest her. And not just a few things either: her lens tries to capture everything. There are black and white photos, coloured ones, portraits from Sri Lanka and Africa, landscapes, nature scenes, and even abstract compositions.

"I try to capture the beauty and simplicity of things," she says. That's why the portraits look directly at the viewer, their features and expressions in full colour. The close-up shots of leaves and flowers are in black and white, focusing on the otherwise hidden patterns of lines in the veins and petals. She likes doing abstract pieces where "people don't know what they're seeing and they have to question it", because she's made an ordinary object unusual.

Patricia's life itself has been far from ordinary. She comes from a family of nine and her father was a photographer and artist. She would always experiment in his darkroom, but only became seriously interested in photography recently. "Living here gives you a fresh eye," says the native Canadian, who's made her home in Sri Lanka for 24 years. "When I go back home to Canada I look at things completely differently.”

When taking pictures, she shoots whatever her eye sees. On Sundays and Poya days she likes to drive around in her truck, jumping out and taking a picture if there's an interesting scene.

Like one of her favourite photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson, she tries to freeze moments on film. Patricia likes old cameras, because the new ones, she says while easier to use, don't have the same heart and soul. She hates working in a studio, and always shoots in natural light because it offers the freedom to be creative with lines and shadow play.

Creative freedom is also the reason why Patricia's excited about her first Sri Lankan exhibition, in Galle this month. The 40 pieces in the exhibit are her personal favourites, with fishing scenes and characters from Galle Fort next to each other. In October, she'll be having another exhibition in Colombo, but this will be restricted to black and white Sri Lankan scenes.

Patricia's already had some exposure by completing an exhibit in Toronto, and doing wedding photography here in Sri Lanka. But because she likes to think of different avenues and approaches to shooting something she doesn't like to do too much commercial work.

She has no problem photographing elephant polo matches or Hindu weddings. "It's nice to be able to do something you enjoy. If you're going to work, you might as well enjoy it.” Patricia Mamelka will be exhibiting at Gallery 71, 71 Pedlar's Street in the Galle Fort for one month, beginning August 12.

It’s Gajaman, Siribiris and all those household favourites
By Thilak Palliyaguruge
Satire, humour and wit have been in existence in our society from time immemorial in the form of folklore, poetry, drama, theatre, literature, art etc. Even our ancient kings engaged the services of a court jester for their entertainment e.g. the famous court jester Andare. There are many instances where our forefathers have tickled the community to provoke laughter through their chosen mediums.

England is considered the birthplace of satire, which reached its pinnacle in the 17th century and later spread to European countries. 'Punch' the famous magazine devoted to humour and satire was greatly responsible for popularizing graphic humour and influencing the contemporary professional cartoonist. Even to those who were not keen on leafing through the pages of the articles of topical interest, the opportunity was offered to enjoy and laugh heartily at the funny and unusual drawings and caricatures with exaggerated noses, ears, pot-bellies and legs etc.

Humour is primarily and essentially intended to rouse laughter. Aristotle called wit cultured insolence. It is said that humour is best when it stems from an honest obliquity of thought, free from malice, and cuts sharp and clean instead of hacking with a blunt instrument.

David Low, the famous British cartoonist excelled in this field with his meaningful politically oriented cartoons. He educated the public on the finer points of politics of the day. R.K. Laxman, the eminent cartoonist of India was popular in Asia. Dennis the Menace, Blondie, Bringing up Father, Micky Mouse are some of the most popular cartoons among the English reading public. In Sri Lanka, Aubrey Collette, Mark Gerreyn, Wijesoma and S.C. Opatha are household names.

Camillus Perera, an unassuming simple man of varied interests hails from Negombo, the eldest son of a family of four. He had his education at Roman Catholic Sinhala School Maris Stella and St. Mary's College, Negombo. He spent his early years leafing through office files, and devoted his free hours to drawing cartoons.

His themes are drawn chiefly from the current political and social environment, and have ample reference to the middle and lower middle classes of our society. Gajaman, Siribiris, Magodis, Sellam Sena, Thepanis, Don Sethang, Simona, Sweetee, Chutie, Meraya Dekkoth Padmawathie, Lapaya, Goddin Ayya, Peto, Tikka and Mr. Lowris were the devoted members of his cartoon family, whom he has brought up since 1966.

You meet them often in the Observer, Janatha Sarasaviya, Lankadipa, Ada, Irida, Sittara, Sathsiri and Sivdesa. The Alliance Francaise de Kandy is now sponsoring an exhibition of selected cartoons of Camillus Perera at No.642, Peradeniya Road, Kandy.The exhibition will continue until August 20.

A musical celebration
Completing 20 years teaching music, Menaka de Fonseka Sahabandu will present a concert featuring her students and the "Menaka Singers". "Some Enchanted Evening" will be held at the Lionel Wendt Theatre on September 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. Proceeds of this show will be used towards building an extension to the paediatric ward of the Cancer Hospital, Maharagama.

A wide selection of music ranging from classical, semiclassical, Broadway and popular songs will be featured. A highlight of the concert will be the guest appearance of "The Philharmonic Players", a popular orchestra playing a medley from Broadway. The show will be directed by Menaka de Fonseka Sahabandu with Indu Darmasena handling choreography and lighting.

Bringing back the grandeur of sacred music
A Doramus Te (We Adore Thee), a programme of Sacred Music presented by the Colombo Philharmonic Choir in aid of the Methodist Elders’ Home, Wellawatte is being staged once more by popular request.

The Colombo Philharmonic Choir conducted by Manilal Weerakoon will present this programme of Sacred Music on Saturday August 21, at 7 p.m. at the Ladies College Chapel. This programme includes a selection of Sacred Music that represents a major strand in the development of Western music.

The essential connection between Church and State led to that alliance lending its patronage to new compositions and their performance either in the monarch's court or in churches, cathedrals and basilicas. The structural magnificence of this music was aptly matched by the sheer grandeur of the architecture of those magnificent edifices.

The music chosen for this programme spans several centuries from the 16th century onwards. Among the composers are Palestrina, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Bruckner, Brahms, Elgar, Stanford and Archer.

Most compositions chosen for this performance being based on biblical themes, provide a mixture of transcendence, austere grandeur, timelessness, splendour and serenity: the perfect humanizing antidote to the frenetic hurrying and rushing of modern industrial society.

The Choir has endeavoured to maintain and promote the cause of classical choral music, because it believes that there is a substantial audience that enjoys this genre of music.

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