Geethani Kiriella (New York)
When pondering the eminent figures in Sri Lankan fine art, Dr. Sarath Chandrajeeva stands out as a prominent artist who has left a mark on the artistic landscape. From the Anuradhapura period to the contemporary era, Sri Lanka has witnessed numerous sculptors and painters, among whom Dr. Chandrajeeva emerges as a notable artist. His proficiency is matched only by his significant contributions that have redefined and elevated the culture of Sri Lankan fine art, pushing boundaries and introducing innovative concepts.
In 1991, my initial encounter with Dr. Sarath Chandrajeeva took place at the Aesthetic College, where he served as a sculptor teacher. As a sculptor major within a cohort of 12 classmates, Dr. Chandrajeeva inspired us to envision the possibilities despite the limitations of faculty facilities. Faced with challenges, he guided us in transforming David Painter’s horse stable into a sculptor studio.
During my second year of college in 1992, a crisis during the final exam led to the temporary closure of the college and the suspension of fifteen students, including myself as one of the two women among predominantly male peers in the same field. Dr. Chandrajeeva’s unwavering support during this tumultuous period left a lasting impression. Despite undergoing surgery and being advised to rest, he stood by his students, regularly visiting us outside the university and advocating for the reopening of the college before a judge.
Art, in Dr. Chandrajeeva’s perspective, goes beyond being a mere aesthetically pleasing image; it serves as a portal into the artist’s mind. This heightened sensitivity to his environment is showcased in his latest exhibition, “Visual Paraphrases,” hosted at Barefoot Gallery in Sri Lanka from November 24th to December 20th, 2023. The exhibition explores the evolution of his artwork, offering a glimpse into the sensory experiences that shape his creations.
In every piece of art that I’ve come across by Dr. Chandrajeeva, I see a glimpse of the beauty of humanity, the depth of his creativity, and a sort of serenity. Dr. Sarath Chandrajeeva has proven that he is one of the greatest artists of the 21st century.