Then I have realized that even before putting those kinds of blinds [of the lock down], we are living under a situation of blinds, we are consciously blind, we are kind of not seeing what we see, we are not thinking what we are seeing and we are not trying to understand what is happening around us
Most of us spent more time looking out of the windows of our homes this last year than in any other year. So, it is perhaps no surprise that one of the works in Chandragupta Thenuwara’s latest exhibition, simply titled Landscape, is a meditation out of the artist’s studio in his home. The effects on the artist of a year spent in and out of lockdown may be why this most recent selection of works feels particularly intimate, even vulnerable. With widely ranging subjects from the Madonna, to Themis; from Ruwanweliseya to China, the works are united by the ways they underscore humanity’s mistakes and weaknesses. While Lamenting Themis is sober-hued, the image of Madonna is titled Hope and she is seen against a gleaming gold backdrop. Yet one wonders what the gold signifies – through Thenu’s deft marriage of figurative and the abstract depictions, the painting merges foreground and background and we are not sure if the figures in the painting have become part of the abstraction of if they are merely concealed beneath it.
The blinds running through the entire series of works in this exhibition are not mere screens, partially obscuring the “real”. They are part of that reality, part of its narrative. They ask us to look closely and from afar. They remind us that our perceptions are tied to our own position in time and space.
This is an excerpt of Shayari de Silva text introducing the exhibition at the Saskia Fernando Gallery, in Colombo, Sri Lanka