Drawing Series Chandraguptha Thenuwara

Chandraguptha Thenuwara presents an exhibition every year at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, Colombo. The exhibition is funded entirely by the artist himself and features a series of work that commemorates the riots of 1983 known as ‘Black July’, not only by the choice of his opening date, but also through the subject of his paintings, sculpture, and installation. Thenuwara is an activist, and while he is the only artist locally who has consistently exhibited his own work on an annual basis, he is perhaps also the only artist who chooses to dedicate his entire practice to the communication of his ideals and beliefs about the social, political, and cultural climate of Sri Lanka. 

The images of the war victor, barrels, camouflage, corpses and the white van make continuous appearances in Thenuwara’s work. They are often hidden or act themselves as a mask to first deceive his audience and thereafter reveal his ideas. In this body of work spanning from 2012 to 2014, these  images and others appear. In many ways, Thenuwara is the only transparent journalistic artist of his time in Sri Lanka, protected by his medium and inspired by his true nature. 

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