A Mixed Media On Canvas

A Mixed Media On Canvas

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
-Thomas Merton

Walking through the gate and into the J.D.A. Gallery glancing at the paintings which had realistic to semi realistic work to pure abstract expressions, gave one the idea that G.Wathuwalagedara is an artist with a lot of experience and has faced a lot of challenging and traumatic experiences in life. The drawings in oil painting and acrylic paint were beautiful and eye-catching. They were all untitled giving the people space to think and imagine a topic. Over the years, he has held many exhibitions.


Veteran artist, G.Wathuwalagedara had his exhibition of drawings and paintings at the J.D.A Perera Gallery recently. He is a pupil of David Paynter. Wathuwalagedara has passed the Advanced Course in Drawing and Painting at the Government College of Fine Arts which is currently the University of Visual and Performing Arts. He was awarded the best students Scholarship in 1959 by the Government College of Fine Arts to follow a course of studies in Graphic Design at St. Martins School of Art, London. Wathuwalagedara says, his collection which was on display at the recent exhibition of drawings and paintings comprises 26 paintings in mixed media on canvas and 10 black and white drawings done at different times in his career. "They vary from realistic to semi realistic work, to pure abstract expression," he said.

"The series of surrealistic monochrome drawings with bizarre human forms were executed during a most traumatic period in my life and they demonstrate how powerfully art can express human emotions. All exhibits are untitled leaving freedom to the viewer to get personally involved in the thinking process and perhaps to arrive at his/her interpretation,"  explains Wathuwalagedara.

Artist Wathuwalagedara received the National Diploma in Design in UK. He returned to Sri Lanka and commenced a course of studies in Graphic Design at the Government College of Fine Arts. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship by the US Government to further his studies in Graphic Design in the US. He first studied Graphic Design at the School of Art Institute in Chicago and subsequently at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

"After my return from the US, I worked as Art Director at J.Walter Thompson's office in Colombo. I had further training in Advertising Art Direction at Hindustan, Thompson's Office in Bombay. I am a former visiting lecturer in Graphic Design, and External Examiner at the University of Visual and Performing Arts; and former visiting lecturer in Design at the Moratuwa University," he said.

He has conducted a course of studies in Graphic Design at the Australian College of Business and Technology in Colombo in conjunction with Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia.

Wathuwalagedara is a full time painter now. "I try not to belong to any fashionable school of thought orfollow any trends. I do not paint to please others. Painting to me has now become an intellectual exercise that brings me joy," he says with a smile.

The veteran artist is "in pursuit of excellence" and is described by his colleagues as someone "who paints and paints". His work he says, simply "comes from deep inside". He has had a vast amount of exposure and education which makes him the creator he is today. He has a "wider vision" and is not overly concerned with mundane things.

He aspires for his art to have a "Universal appeal" and when sitting down in front of a canvas or sketch pad, says, he has no preconceived idea of what he is going to paint. He only knows that he is done when he is thoroughly satisfied. He tries not to compartmentalise his work and does not care to preach or tell a story.
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