The people behind the tea

By Himal Kotelawala

‘Pussellawa on Canvas’, an exhibition with a difference by artist and cartoonist Lalith Senanayake will be held at the American Center in Colombo on Tuesday, February 17, from 3 p.m. onwards.

Twenty-seven works of art, all done using oils and acrylics, depicting the lives of tea estate workers living in Pussellawa will go on display at the exhibition. Senanayake has taken over a year to complete the 27 paintings, having spent four weeks in Pussellawa last year.

“There’s something underneath the fresh greenery that immediately comes to mind when you think of Pussellawa, colours that are not obvious, colours that can be found only in the background. I attempted to recreate the lives of the people from Pussellawa on canvas using those colours,” he says.

“These people who are responsible for the tea we drink everyday go through immense hardships on a daily basis. They may not appear attractive at first glance, but I have seen a kind of beauty in them. I wanted to highlight that beauty in my paintings,” he explains.

Pussellawa on Canvas will be his first art exhibition this year, after the successful Agasti held in June last year under the theme of ‘light and dark’.

Senanayake joined the Colombo Art Academy last year to study under Dr. Sarath Chandrajeewa. A student of the legendary artist S. P. Charles, Senanayake has followed a four-year higher diploma in traditional art and fine arts conducted by the National Museum in collaboration with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. He works for the Rivira newspaper.

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