Island Mentality, a group exhibition of work by five artists, namely Muvindu Binoy, Hashan Cooray, Pramith Geekiyanage, Firi Rahman and Kanesh Thabendran opened to the public on 29 June 2019 and will remain open daily until 14 July 2019 at the Saskia Fernando Gallery, 41 Horton Place, Colombo 7, 10am to 6pm.
As an island moved towards achieving independence in 1948 the modernist movement, also known as the 43 Group, changed the influences on traditional norms in Sri Lankan art.
During the war the 90s movement began to redefine these westernized practicesand current influences see a new momentum in a post war environment that has opened up the island’s art scene to South Asia and the world.
A growing interest in the works of the modern art movement internationally and the inclusion of young artists in presentations of South Asian art ensure that the history of the Sri Lankan art scene is established and the future is well sustained.
Inevitably the criticism and expectations that follow this interest begin to form stereotypes in the definitions being presented to the outside world. Whether towards the organic way in which the art community chooses to function, or the assumed elitist approach towards engaging with art; these criticisms place a large, diverse art scene into a small space of expectations and preferences that seeks to find parallels with the contemporary art scene internationally, or sensationalize the content that is easier to approach.
Island Mentality seeks to expand these perceptions by redefining the stereotypes and oversimplifications often associated with the outsiders perspective. As a pun on the term Island Mentality the five artists exhibited represent a diversity in visual and verbal languages whilst renouncing any expected norms or criteria.
By combining these works that neither sensationalize politics nor collectively portray a narrative it is the individuality of process that can be accredited in placing their work at the forefront of art practices in Sri Lanka today.
These five artists are self-taught and of formal education backing, they work with politically conceptual content and abstract forms of expression, they are traditional and new media practitioners.