Ballpoint point blank | Daily News

Ballpoint point blank

In a well-designed, elegantly produced collection of ballpoint artworks, Chandana Ranaweera has cleverly set his mind and hand to a very modest and surprisingly complex medium—the ballpoint pen. All artistic devices and materials have their distinguishing features and ranking in the high/low-art continuum, with the ballpoint pen generally rated near the bottom. Its effects tend to be straightforward and relatively un-nuanced—it makes mostly solid lines.

The art of Chandana Ranaweera has earned positive commentary from Prof Ashly Halpé, Edwin Ariyadasa and Gwen Herath. His work depicts abstracts from the reality around us and images from his own imagination. Chandana’s works of art include a unique form of collage. He tears shapes from printed newspapers and takes lengths of discarded ayurvedic prescriptions written on ola leaf and glues them on smallish pieces of drawing paper and then draws on the surface.

Chandana passed on his skills and knowledge to young students at his old school, Rathanalankara Viduhala, Alawwa, where he teaches. His work can be viewed at his rural home ‘Mallika Niwasa’ in Alawwa.

Artist Chandana Ranaweera uses a unique medium to bring to life many of his themes and concepts – the ballpoint pen. Working within different themes, the artist portrays gods and goddesses in various postures. They are not traditional images of divinity often seen at kovils and temples.

Constantly, influenced by nature, the artist sees trees in clusters and different shapes. He looks at the moon and sees its reflection in the water.

As several of his drawings portray, Ranaweera is also fascinated by traditional drummers and Kavadi dancers. He visits temples and devales – where he invariably sees traditional drummers – in search of material and inspiration for his drawings.

Beginning in 1991, Ranaweera has been holding solo exhibitions of his creations almost annually. Although he could not hold any exhibition abroad, Ranaweera sent his entries to foreign exhibitions held in India, Bangladesh and Japan. Some of his drawings were bought by art lovers in France, England, Singapore and the United States. In 1994, one of his drawings was published by the United Nations. Ranaweera has also won many awards at art competitions held locally.

Chandana divides the work into many categories with mostly pure and geometric abstractions in the first section and faces and figures of all manner in the second—although there is some categorical seepage. With his playful lines and abstract cartoons, Ranaweera excels in the first grouping, while he fares well in revealing the pen’s (and his) expressive and improvisatory potential. 


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