Ten years ago, Sri Lankan artist Senaka Senanayake was deeply worried after he heard that 70 per cent of rain forests in the island country were destroyed due to global warming. He started visiting the remaining forests along with his cousin, an environmentalist. The rich flora and fauna left him speechless and he felt the need to do something to save the environment.
Senanayake realised that he would use the power of his brush to create awareness among people to conserve nature. Over the last decade, the veteran artist has been diligently painting works, rich in colours, keeping in sync with this ideology. The artist, who has shown his works across the globe and last displayed his creations in India in 2011, is now showcasing 20 of his new paintings at an exhibition titled In an Iridescent Land, from October 18, at Tao Art Gallery in Worli.
He says, “I wanted to show the beauty of our nature hoping that it will encourage people to do their bit to conserve it. At the end of the day, global warming is a universal issue. I’m targeting the younger generation as our generation has completely messed up the environment. I’m hoping the youngsters will do something to reclaim it.”
Senanayake, who started painting since he was six and had his first exhibition at the age of eight, studied art at Yale. While his oeuvre has never been specific, a chanced encounter with the depleting rainforests of Sri Lanka, have made their beauty the fulcrum of his paintings. While critics say, he is a painter of our vanishing environment; collectors say he paints rainforests. But Senanayake says he doesn’t like to label his works and prefers the audience to derive their own connotations. He, however, admits that he likes to use bright, vibrant colours. “I like to use happy, positive colours. I want people to enjoy my works and revel in the richness and beauty of nature,” he exclaims.
Senanayake’s hues boast of lush greens, fluorescent pinks, pomegranate reds and deep shades of mauve, indigo and purple. He arranges colours to balance his canvases so that the eye falls evenly across his paintings, never drawn to a particular corner. The outcome of his efforts is a powerful, enchanting, perhaps even hypnotic, world of birds, beasts and beings. He now wants to focus on the marine world and plans to showcase his works in New Delhi and Istanbul next year.
When: Till November 10, 11 am to 7 pm
Where: Tao Art Gallery, 165, The View, Dr Annie Besant Road, Worli,