Reaching the 'Degree'
The 'Degree Show', a visual art exhibition, is being held at Barefoot
gallery these days. The exhibition projects would have to be thought of
as a one that has been carried out under the dynamics of transitory art
and a Bohemian fate. That is because these projects are integrated in an
environment lacking in aesthetic experience and ideologies that are
found in the visual art study fields of other Universities.
Some creations on display
In other words, let alone the formulation of these texts according to
a scholastic tradition or subtle experimental usage, the creators were
not even possessed of spacious studios with tools and materials. Due to
this, the process of their visual art creation was gripped by internal
turmoil. With the acknowledgment of the limitations in visual art
didactics for the creation of their texts, I had to give them an
understanding of the contemporary visual art culture from a different
As a result of that, they were liberated out of the creed of
searching for traditional scholastic implements. Thus, they were able to
use materials and things of everyday usage as instruments of their
visual art. They were motivated to think of these materials and things
as being possessed of symbolic meaning or significance and thereby
distinguishable as parts of an art work created with critical acumen.
However, it was not a simple aesthetic experience. They were able to
conquer the aforesaid conditions and turmoil only after understanding
the analogy of the controversies, critiques, conflicts and altercations
continuously held with me. These youngsters are building a stream of
visual art contexts that critique and question the socio-political
conditions, religious and dogmatic variances and the ruling class
ideologies that arise from time to time.
Elements of visual tapestry contain harassments faced by women,
irregularities, ignominious aberrations and painful political injustice.
Another young man installs his experience of a heinously fearful
environment of war as a reflection of a surrealistic dream of a child.
Their texts with multifaceted and multifarious visual arts
possibilities closely resemble naive or kitsch related installation art.
I also propose that these texts should be considered as works of new
comers who are still at the student stage, and also as creations which
have been made as required for the examination project.
What we should not forget among all these things is, that the
contemporary visual arts in Sri Lanka have been pushed towards a zeal of
intensification of concepts. Because of this, many texts are being
distanced from real power of art or intuition.
This trend is certainly a challenge directed to the visual arts
education fields of Universities. All the elements necessary for
thoughts on art and potential creation of artwork are open to the Sri
Lankan society of art students. Therefore, this society of art students
have to be sensitized towards new ideologies and thoughts of rational
Wilhelm Dilthey states:
"Human beings express their inner experience through the creation of
things. These human creations are not mere expressions of feelings but
are declarations of life.
An artwork, especially one which uses the medium of language, is to
be considered as the ultimate expression of inner human life. Rather
than declaring a specialty of an artist, an artwork proclaims a social
or historical reality. When we understand an artwork, we understand
human life. Also, we understand ourselves."