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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 6 Popular Sri Lankan Artists – Masters of Their Medium
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Joanna James Joanna James
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6 Popular Sri Lankan Artists – Masters of Their Medium

The nation of Sri Lanka inherits a rich artistic legacy. There are a number of gifted Sri Lankan artists whose work will capture the imagination of the discerning art lover, including those described below.

1

Senaka Senanayake

This acclaimed artist achieved international renown at a tender age, conducting an exhibition in the city of New York at the age of only 10 years old. Today Senanayake continues to produce outstanding creative works, with recent artworks inspired by the need to protect Sri Lanka's rainforests. You will see that these works feature vivid images of vibrantly hued birds, interesting plants and shimmering insects. Senanayake's painting style makes use of a multi-layered technique to produce outstanding artistic creations.

2

George Keyt

The work of George Keyt is an engrossing blend of the modern as well as the ancient, whilst also celebrating the diverse religious and cultural traditions of Sri Lanka. You will see that his output has been noticeably influenced by Hindu and Buddhist iconography; in fact, he has created depictions of the life of the Buddha on the shrine room walls at Borella's Gothami Temple. In addition to the influence of Sri Lankan mural painting traditions, Keyt's work displays his appreciation of the modernist artistic sphere including such artists as Braque and Picasso.

3

David Paynter

This esteemed artist is considered to have been one of the genuine trailblazers of Sri Lankan art during the 1920s. Having experienced Western art in countries like the United Kingdom, Italy and France, Paynter came back to Sri Lanka to focus on his Western-influenced approach to art. His initial pieces, including murals at the chapel in Kandy's Trinity College, demonstrated religious themes with scenes from Biblical events. During his time Paynter was also acclaimed as a painter of portraits, but his most compelling work may well be his depictions of simple everyday life.

4

Lionel Wendt

The well-known Lionel Wendt is another renowned Sri Lankan artist who has achieved international recognition. Wendt whilst studying in Europe during the 1920s gained inspiration from modernism as reflected in the visual arts, music and literature. After returning to Colombo Wendt purchased the newest photographic apparatus and proceeded to innovate with techniques like solarisation and photomontage. Instead of simply duplicating the conventions of modernism in his work, Wendt used his wide-ranging experience to innovatively depict the rich Sri Lankan traditions and lifestyle. Today you will find many of Wendt's photographic creations in Britain's Tate Modern gallery.

5

Sujeewa Kumari

The work of this well-reputed artist examines the subject of womanhood within the context of post-colonialism. You will find that Sujeewa's work takes the form of different media like digital collages of photographs, performance and video installations. You will see that this artist's drawings conform to the traditions of surrealism, with realistic features contrasting with a more nebulous view of the universe. Some of her newest work features advanced technology in order to create a montage of objects, images and flowers that are placed on human images. If you are interested in such Sri Lanka art by local artists, do check out online sites such as Sri Lankan Art Gallery.

6

Ivan Peries

Although Ivan Peries is a well-known Sri Lankan artist, he has spent a considerable proportion of his life in the United Kingdom. His motherland, Sri Lanka features prominently in his work, with many of his creations depicting the shoreline of the ocean as well as the rural lifestyle. One of his well-known works portrays a solemn landscape with a dark sky and a couple of trees as well as a monk who is seated and gazing in the direction of the expanses of the ocean.