Exhibition of Paintings
4 Jul 2007 – 25 Jul 2007
Paradise Road Galleries
I was born on Thursday, 11 January 1945, in a remote village called Sivalipura, (which has no connection with my name) in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. My father was Ranbanda liangasinghe and my mother was Dingiri Menike.
It was the beautiful village in which I was born, located in the very heart of a dense jungle, that inspired me to be a painter. My parents were farmers and in my childhood I saw all around me paddy fields, animals, the forest and, of course, ordinary and simple village folk and these were the subjects of the themes that I painted later in life.
I studied at the village school and then moved on to Kekirawa where some relatives lived. There, I attended several schools. In 1964, having completed my education at Kekirawa Central College, I moved to Colombo in the hope of developing my skills as a painter.
In Colombo, I met Sesha Palihakkara, the renowned dancer, choreographer, theatre personality and film director and under his guidance I started doing some artistic work for films. Thereafter, I trained under Somabandhu Vidyapathi, a reputed artist working in theatre, specialising in make-up, sets and costumes. I devoted myself consistently to the task of improving my skill and, in 1971, was able to hold an exhibition at the Lionel Wendt Gallery.
I am grateful to Mr Harry Pieris of the Sapumal FoundatiOn who recognised my skill and gave me a lot of encouragement and assistance to continue developing my art. He also assisted me, financially, to visit France, It is unfortunate that there are very few people of his calibre and sensitivity to encourage and assist artists.
I believe my paintings present, to my viewers and critics, something different from the work of other artists and this has encouraged me a great deal, such that amidst tremendous difficulties, I was able to hold exhibitions in almost every art gallery in the country. In 1985Iheld an exhibition in Paris and thereafter in Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A.
Although I have had offers giving me the opportunity to learn the art of painting at many reputed institutes, I have instead chosen to utilise my innate talent and skills and dedicate myself to my work. With undeterred courage and my own inner strength, I have become what I am today. My paintings reflect Sri Lanka’s rural life and scenes of ordinary daily living and are not separated but deeply interwoven. I do not only create works of art but also derive great aesthetic pleasure from them.
My art has generated the income for me and my family’s subsistence.
-Seevali Ilangasinghe, 2007