‘Colombo – A Sketch Book’ by Vasantha Perera captures the essence and character of Colombo, from charming colonial buildings to friendly residents with warm, sunny smiles. The paintings illustrate the long-lost images of the city from the artist’s own memoirs.
Words Keshini de Silva
At first glance the picture appears as an illusion of a photograph, and once the eyes fixate on the pencil/pen lines and expert brush strokes, the mind’s eye is intrigued. Whether it is a painting, a line drawing or even a mixture of both, each work of art is thought-provoking. As interest is peaked about the theme of the painting, the emotion flowing through each piece has a profound effect, especially on those who have traversed the quaint streets of Colombo.
Weerakodige Vasantha Perera has captured the soul of Sri Lanka’s capital city through his latest works of art, all of which have made their way to the pages of ‘Colombo – A Sketch Book’. After ‘Jaffna – A Sketch Book’ and ‘Kandy – A Sketch Book’, Vasantha Perera’s newest canvases reveal to the world Colombo through his own eyes, a reflection of his childhood and home. While intriguing everyone who lays eyes on the painting, for the city-dwellers these works are a journey through time.
The opening night of the exhibition of ‘Colombo – A Sketch Book’ coincided with the launch of the book in which these artworks fill each page. The event was attended by Chief Guests Sybil Wettasinghe, children’s author and illustrator and Ravindra Randeniya, veteran actor. Among the audience of well-wishers and friends was also Vasantha Perera’s childhood teacher Piyasiri Wagasenevi, who was a source of encouragement to him. Reflecting on how the art captures life in Colombo from decades ago, Ravindra Randeniya described the exhibition as a nostalgic experience.
“This has been a dream of mine since childhood. I credit my achievements to the lessons and nurturing I received from my parents…”
“This has been a dream of mine since childhood. I credit my achievements to the lessons and nurturing I received from my parents. For those who are able to understand the language of my paintings, the message will be clear. These paintings are not mere recreations, but are my interpretations of the locations as well as emotions,” stated Vasantha Perera. Indeed, in the book, a few words are penned with regards to the history of the location and the artist’s recollections. He further expressed hope that these works will inspire the future generations of artists in Sri Lanka.
Many of the locations he has painted have either been lost to modernity or have been dilapidated with time, while the quaint scenes of life are long-lost. Hence, Vasantha Perera hopes that the beautiful Colombo and lifestyle from his childhood memories will be preserved and appreciated by future generations through ‘Colombo – A Sketch Book’.
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