Born in 1960, artist and activist Chandraguptha Thenuwara returns for his 24th annual exhibition commemorating the events of Black July at Saskia Fernando Gallery on Friday the 23rd of July. In this year's exhibition, titled BLINDS, lines of monochrome paint form an overlay that recreates the experience of simultaneously seeing and not seeing that the artist observes in Sri Lanka's political environment.
As has become tradition, Thenuwara returns to motifs from his previous exhibitions, picking up and extending their narratives in context with the past year's political events. In one work, Themis, the goddess of justice, featured decapitated in his 2013 exhibition, now sits forlorn on the floor; blindfolded with her sword and scale astrew. Another canvas work mimics the vivid colour displays of Vesak Pandols which flicker on and off, their lights further obscured by the black and gold strips that eat up the canvas. Through his use of figurative backgrounds blurred out by the venetian blind motif, Thenuwara toes the same line between transparency and opacity that he feels the island's ruling powers blur. A series of aluminium works, an unusual medium choice, highlights how Thenuwara retains his relevancy as a creator, 24 years into this annual exhibition.
Press release courtesy Saskia Fernando Gallery.