Exhibition of Paintings
25 Apr 2008 – 14 May 2008
Paradise Road Galleries
Still lives of the imagination__The double headed hybrid animals in strange bright colors. A human body growing out of a six legged elephant which seem to be floating in air? or is it water? In Sanjeewa’s world questions burn brighter than answers, riddles are not there to be solved but to be considered , revised, and slowly committed to memory.
Art is often interpreted as a confirmation of the societies that made them but in the contemporary world where media and communication link cultures and countries at maximum speed, there may be no such thing as a single national identity, Sanjeewa calls himself a non-western western artist. The six years he has spent in europe (he studied in the netherlands) helped him formulate themes on overlapping cultures. He applied the theory of post-colonialism and hybridism to create his own free world, a world of fantasy and dreamlike imagery, “the theory has helped me find direction, to create my own style in painting”.
During his 15 year career as a professional artist (he has been painting since he could hold a brush) He has build up a collection of works based on these dreamlike, even toy-like fantastic creatures. Sanjeewa Kumara sayd he has always been attracted to complexity and intrigued by ambiguity; without central focus his images are real, surreal and unreal all at once. He likes his paintings to be entertaining disorienting and confusing in equal amounts.
His works is lights and intellectually undemanding, but not superficial – nor easily painted, although it appears effortless. Sanjeewa emphasizes that his images usually do not come easily – he works. Reworks and struggles to distill the essence of the image from the comples arrangement of forms in his paintings, usually with 3 or 4 paintings at the same time.
The simplicity of his images is deceptive; and though they are often happy, beautiful images, his paintings (or pictures as he prefers to call them) are forcing the viewer to devle into their unconcious, (both the freudian concepts of the unconcious and the uncanny are underlying themes) and go back to the formative years before the image of self became a reality ( he draws from jaques lacan, the french freudian psychoanalyst). “I create for the viewer to be part of my work. I invite them to read my work in a non-exicting language.
Sanjeewa’s work breaks the traditional opposition between ‘high and low’ art. He does not display critical view of society but instead uses multicultural influences (both gauguin and miro are present) To create his own distinctive style, this delicate ambiguity make him link magic with realism, the individual with history, the individual and regional identity and self-assertion with the magnet of the universal. His paintings can be seen as a device binding Sri Lankan culture of the past to the contemporary multiculture.
– Mieke Kooistra, 2008