Artist's plea to protect rainforests through art
ART: With the touch of the sun rays thousands of colourful
flowers wake up to flirt with the ferns around. The creepers embrace the
giant trees that shade the Earth. The Lorikeets, Parakeets, Pigeons,
Blue Magpies, Macaws, Mynhas, Jungle Fowls with their morning songs add
beauty to this scene. This is a familiar sight to many of you who have
visited the most famous rainforest Sinharaja that is considered as a
world heritage site.
BEAUTY: One of the paintings Pix - Saman Sri Wedage
The tropical rainforest, abundant with various species of flora and
fauna fades away gradually without our knowledge. One man is concerned
about this issue.
"Global warming has become a huge problem. People do not realise the
after effects. They don't realise the harm that they do by destroying
the rainforests. The destruction of the rainforest paves the way for our
own destruction and the future generation is deprived of enjoying the
beauty of our country," he says of deforestation that has become a
threat to all living beings on Earth.
He is the renowned artist Senaka Senanayake. With the determination
of preserving the rainforest he is busy putting together a series of
paintings on rainforests.
"The destruction of rainforests affects the globe. Once the
environment is destroyed it is forever. We should preserve Sinharaja,"
he says. How will Senaka reach this huge goal through art?
"My present interest is to create awareness specially in young
people. They are the future of the country. I try to attract them
through my paintings and make them think about the beauty that we are
losing," Senaka explained.
ARTIST: Senaka Senanayake
Senaka does not limit his artwork only to his Motherland.
Recently he travelled to New Delhi to promote the theme of
rainforests. "It was a huge success. Indians are receptive and the
environmental groups were highly interested. This is a global issue.
If I get the opportunity I like to travel even to the Amazon.
Presenting our rainforest will make them think of rainforests in their
countries. I hope to have similar exhibitions in Dubai, Hong Kong and
New York," he said.
"Our ancestors protected the environment. Buddhism is also connected
with nature. It is a disgrace for us to talk so much about culture and
destroy the gifts of nature bestowed on us," Senaka points out.
He added that he was inspired by a project of rescuing rainforests
based in Galle. " I was fascinated by the many endemic plants and birds.
I have done nature themes such as foliage and lotus series. In my own
way I try to make a difference," says the great artist with
Talking about art in Sri Lanka Senaka highlights the need for a
modern art museum. "There is a lot of talent in the country. The schools
should expose children to art. It shouldn't be merely teaching the
subject but they should be taught art appreciation. The only exposure
they can get in our country to art are the temples and churches.
Nothing of the last 100 years is exhibited. Future generations should
be inspired with these works," he said underlining the necessity of a
modern art museum.
Although life is busy he does not forget to extend a hand to young
upcoming artists. "To encourage them they have been given the
opportunity to display and sell their original works at the Colombo
Hilton and Cinnamon Grand.
About 30 to 40 artists are given this opportunity," Senaka said.
Senaka's whole life is dedicated to art. His garden, with the
beautifully bloomed flowers looks like one of his paintings. His love
for sculpture is portrayed in his collection of various statues. Senaka
continues his mission adding colour to the hectic lives around the world
with his magical brushes and paint palettes.