Something old, something new but something similar too

Exhibition of paintings by local artists from the 1930s to date shows an interesting link

“The Art for Sale” Exhibition open to the public from March 10 - 24 at the Casa Serena Gallery is an exceptional collection of traditional, contemporary and abstract paintings dated from the 1930s to 2012.
Paintings by Noel Abeysinghe (1930- 2007), Alexander Sofronoff, P. E. P. Deraniyagala (1900-1973), Donald Ramanayake (1920-1993) and Saraswathi Rockwood (1925- 2011), as well as contemporary artists R. Segar, Nihal Sangabo Dias, Sarath Chandrajeewa and Samira Kalupahana, and other unknown, yet highly talented artists are featured.

What is unique about this exhibition is the similar styles of palette knife paintings belonging to different periods. Alexander Sofronoff was a brilliant and influential expatriate Russian artist who lived in Sri Lanka during the 1930s - 1950s, an interior designer as well as a landscape painter.

He was responsible for painting the murals on the walls of the Galle Face Hotel, some of which still remain. Sofronoff influenced one of Sri Lanka’s early landscape painters Donald Ramanayake (1920-1993). Another landscape and palette knife artist is Nihal Sangabo Dias whose breathtaking landscapes are reminiscent of Donald Ramanayake’s work, though he was never influenced by Ramanayake.

Amongst the most significant qualities of these paintings is their ability to communicate with the viewer, and hold his attention for a longer period. Nelun Harasgama’s landscape, Sarath Chandrajeewa’s “City on Fire”, Noel Abeysinghe’s “Mother and Child” and Gunther Herman’s “Lord Ganesh” are just some which share these qualities.

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