Wanantharaya – an exhibition by Prageeth Manohansa
Prageeth Manohansa belongs to a new wave of artists that have emerged from post-war Sri Lanka. This movement follows two specific periods in Sri Lankan art history, namely that of the 43 Group and the 90s movement. The 43 Group introduced modern contemporary art to the island with heavy influences from western art, while the 90s movement changed the face of Sri Lankan art by drawing inspiration from the country's state of civil war and the social and cultural tension that ensued.
Following Manohansa’s studies in India, he returned to Sri Lanka to study under many of the artists from the 90s movement. But his education in art had in fact begun at home many years earlier under the guidance of his father, and it was during his university years that he began to put theory into practice.
He began exhibiting his work shortly after graduating from university. His works are now part of important private collections both in Sri Lanka and overseas including public installations presented at the Matale Airport and the Maradana junction. It is the sustainable nature and conceptual form of Manohansa’s work that leaves him unrivaled. This artist has the ability to capture movement and social concepts in heavy metal with a raw organic skill.
In the artists newest series he emerged from a period focused on commissioned works in projects including the Hilton Colombo refurbishment, the Hilton Residency refurbishment and other private commissions for his larger scrap metal sculpture and his much sought-after work on canvas and paper. In this, an evolution in his use of material, the artist continues to explore the base of much of his work, nature and wildlife, while moving in a direction of sculpture composition consisting of wires manipulated and wrapped with scraps of brass. Inspired by these collaborations, he takes a microscopic view at leaves and works with acrylic on paper in his representation of these images as well as in the illustration of unusual and unexpected fauna.
Manohansa has participated in solo and group exhibitions including Saskia Fernando Gallery, Sri Lanka (2014, 2013); Paradise Road Galleries, Sri Lanka (2016, 2013, 2006); Lionel Wendt Art Gallery (2003); Galerie Steph, Singapore (2012); Maldives Institute of Vocational Training, Maldives (2010); Amangalla, Sri Lanka (2011, 2009); Art Dubai, Dubai (2016); Breese Little, UK (2014); Asia House, UK (2011); Colombo Art Biennale, Sri Lanka (2009); XVA Gallery, Dubai (2013); and Museum of Ethnology, Austria (2008).
Wanantharaya by Prageeth Manohansa will be free and open to the public daily from 10am to 6pm at Saskia Fernando Gallery, 41 Horton Place, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka. Tel 0117429010 from 6 April – 4 May 2018.