Spring, the sweet spring! | Daily News


Spring, the sweet spring!

The editor, compiler, researcher, journalist and book publisher, Piyasena Wickramage, has kept a record of his various events, encounters and dialogues drawn from the world of media. This is briefly a record of just 50 years of his life. He gives the feeling that the spell of 50 years is spring. As poet Robert Barns pointed out, this could be a sweet spring. The entire catalogue of the observations is titled Madura Vasanthe. The latest work that emerges from Wickramage’s crest covers the significant profiles of those who mattered in cinema, theatre, literary arts and subsidiary but variant forms of arts and letters that come into the formation of media featured in a broad perspective.

The term Sanvada is an apt word for dialogues that existed since the Socratic times up to Russell. The factors that lay behind depicts a personal touch that enhances the changes, attitudes, ideologies and trends in the areas engaged by the compiler cum expressionist Wickramage.

Unrecorded trends

Cinema signifies his favourite area of interest. Wickramage attempts to cover the dialogues that ensued and the events that followed with stalwarts such as Dr Lester James Peries, Professor Siri Gunasinha, Dr DB Nihalsinghe, Rukmani Devi, Eddie Jayamanna and Gamini Fonseka to name a few. There are some more others who are lesser-known but presumably of varying interest too who are covered. He presents an overview of the visual art by drawing some unrecorded trends in the making of a so-called new cinema generation. This emphasises the experimental types and new waves that emerge as global influences as well as global techno impact that had come to stay with the masses.

Wickramage underlines the services and the trends that he observed in the area. He identifies them as Professional Cinematographers. He does not cast a discriminative eye on them but recognises them as a category that should remain in order to feel the difference. Followed by that segment, we approach the local theatre scene packed with events and trends as set by personalities such as Professor Ediriweera Sarachchandra, Dayananda Gunawardana, Dhamma Jagoda and the lesser-known Natya Guru HD Sugathapala, one-time principal of Royal College, Colombo, who was solely responsible for building up of a fresh theatrical culture both in ideology and practice.

I feel that large-hearted Sugathapala is one scholar who provided a new phase in the reading habit of the local teachers and students at all levels. I confess that I am one of them in the capacity of a student at Ananda College, Colombo.

Documentary evidence

The two eminent scholars and practitioners of paintings and the art of preservation of local murals are namely Siri Gunasinha and LTP Manjusri. The compiler Wickramage’s records kept on them for the reader emerge as a variant different from other documentary evidence of their services and functions.

The next segment comes in the form of felicitations for two significant scholars and pioneers in the field of arts and letters. They are Professor Senarat Paranavitana and Dr Martin Wickramasinghe. Though several documents have appeared as felicitation volumes, Wickramage is seen detouring from the beaten track. He presents some innovative visions such as creative thinking and the pitfalls they had to overcome in order to trace the truth from the false; filter the want from the unwanted.

Madura Vasanthe looks more a trendsetting and a well-designed fact file than a mere compilation of profiles and events. This is the type of work that one needs to create in order to reach for new dimensions in several subject areas that cover a broad point of view. Disciplines such as sociology, literature and communication sciences concerning the media study have undergone manifold stages of development. Several photographs of lasting historical significance are also included. They look more archival material than photography.


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