Space for creativity | Daily News


Space for creativity

At school there is no subject called ‘Sensitivity’, there is no subject called ‘Expressions of the soul’ or there is no subject called ‘Imagination’. Not all are gifted mathematically or are science oriented. Those who have ‘other gifts’, fall through the cracks. These gifts for expressing what is within their souls, this third eye or sensing a different level of reality which is unseen to many is not given attention. As a result, they themselves are misunderstood and they have to develop their talents on their own. There are art classes in school, yet they are eclipsed by this desire parents have for their children to become doctors, engineers and scientists. There is no recognition of Art.

This is where Chathuranga Biyagama and Janaka Perera come into the scene. Together they operate Gallery Four Life, a modern art gallery. Biyagama is a Sri Lankan Contemporary Artist and Perera is the creator of The opening of the Art Gallery was held last week and it was attended by well wishers and art enthusiasts.

“The main functions of the gallery are, hosting art exhibitions for the public preview, promoting paintings for sale purpose through the International Art pavilion and Local Art pavilions (showroom galleries), Live art studio for Artists to practice and create and also utilizing the working space for Art residency programs. We are developing an Artists reference library so that artists will have an opportunity to develop themselves share their knowledge among other artists,” said Chathuranga Biyagama.

Promoting artists is Biyagama’s greatest desire. He knows how tough life is for young artists who are trying to make their mark in society. He understands the tears and frustrations that stem from the inability to be recognized. The Art pavilion concept is mainly for Artists to promote their work to potential buyers and art collectors.

The Gallery also boasts of an artist working studio that can accommodate four to five artists. Here they have the opportunity network and share the knowledge. Biyagama’s main concern is the youth – uncut diamonds. The Gallery is also for university students who do not have enough working space at their boarding homes or hostels. They can utilize the space to practice their skills and to develop their talents. There is also a reference library for artists to upgrade their knowledge, which will create a community platform of artists both senior and junior to develop discussions and critics.

Their e-commerce platform is the modest technical way of promoting Sri Lankan art to the international. Through this- foreign buyers have the opportunity to purchase Sri Lankan Art works through their Web Based E commerce platform through Credit cards and Paypal.

“It is not easy to make a living through art in a country like Sri Lanka. Rural artists have many issues in promoting their art and selling their works. Through Gallery Four Life we give an opportunity to Sri Lankan Artists to showcase their work in our Gallery spaces according to the international standards. We are giving an opportunity to rural talented artists, university students and pass out young artists to build their name and to promote their works through our Gallery. Young and Senior artists have the opportunity to utilize our studio space to develop new creations and to build an artist community for the development of contemporary arts in Sri Lanka,” explained Biyagama.

Janaka Perera is of course the co- partner of this project and he is the creator of the e-commerce platform to promote Sri Lankan Art to international.

“I always had a requirement to open a physical gallery along with my online gallery. However, I didn’t have the time or the drive to complete such a project on my own. I came across Chathuranga’s profile in 2019 after he had posted details about his last solo exhibition and I contacted him to find out if he’s interested in joining as a featured artist. When we made contact, I realized that his vision and drive would definitely be an asset if we collaborated. He also had a vision to open a physical gallery and we subsequently discussed along those lines and came to an agreement,” said Perera.

Aartzy is a curated platform that showcases the talent of local creators. At present Aartzy is on an exciting journey aimed at uplifting the versatile cultural identity of Sri Lanka through various mediums of art forms. Aartzy is a lucrative platform which is home to numerous local creators, showcasing a range of creative talents from paintings, photographs, sculpture, drawings and lifestyle creations.

“Most artists nowadays struggle to find the desire and inspiration to create new ideas due to various reasons. That’s one reason why Sri Lankan Art still has not reached to its true potential.

Our primary objective is to create an iconic location for artists where they can display, create, find ideas and inspiration and get mentored by experienced artists. We aslo help them to realize the true potential of this industry in all aspects and take their work to the international stage. With that regard, Gallery Four Life will truly change the art scene in Sri Lanka,” explained Perera. Our little island of Sri Lanka is truly unique in many ways and this is also true of our art. Our artists are very skilled and again the only thing holding them back is this mindset that everyone should become doctors and engineers.

“Customarily in our society we stay away from things we don’t understand. Parents don’t encourage young kids to become artists as they feel that they cannot be successful creating art. These are some of the mental blocks we need to break if we are to compete with the best in the world. We have so much potential as a nation and we can definitely be a force to be reckoned with in the art world. We have artists with great talent and imagination, creating masterpieces in all possible styles and that’s not common for other countries. Although we lack international exposure, we make up for it with our imagination and desire. Now that’s true creativity!” stated Perera

Perera feels that we have a mix bag of master grade, experienced, up and coming and novice artists here in Sri Lanka. All of them are talented and skilled. But the true quality of a finished artwork will be differentiated by finer points developed over time, effort and exposure.

Gallery Four Life is particularly relevant to the art scene in Sri Lanka since art is a field where you need to know and apply basics. You need to study, research and know the basics. You may not have studied art in university, but you need to develop a basic understanding of the fundamentals of art. Similarly, you need to get exposure to different styles of art and how successful professionals create masterpieces.

“Creating an art piece is just the halfway point. The project will be completed only when you see your artwork which you lovingly created, displayed by a collector. To do that you need to promote your work or get help externally from someone who has the skills to make sure your work gets sold. When you see your artwork is with a collector, an artist will get the momentum and the motivation to create better work. In order to do that, we need experienced professional artists to come forward to nurture the next generation. We need more young people to start creating art and start making money from selling art. Both and Gallery Four Life are committed to this cause,” pointed out Perera.

If an artist wants to rent out the gallery to have an exhibition they offer the most reasonable price in town. The duo will do the event campaign for them as support. If it is a rented exhibition the artist can have a minimum of three days. If it is a featured one it will run for three weeks. Featured exhibitions are for talented and professional artists where they do not have to pay for the gallery but the duo will keep 35 percent on sales.

When it is rented the artist pays the rent based on the number of days he/she exhibits and there is no commission on sales. A group art exhibition of local and international master grade artists will be open to the public for a whole month.

Pictures by Thushara Fernando

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