Dysfunctional politics through art

Presenting an annual exhibition of work that confronts the current political climate of a country is no small feat.

An artist, an activist, lecturer and curator, Chandraguptha Thenuwara’s work has presented witty political commentary for nearly two decades in this documentary format.

Thenuwara’s work is made up of the juxtaposition of objects and paronomasias; these works are exhibited annually on 23 July to commemorate ‘Black July 1983’.

As a multidisciplinary artist the exhibitions have included installation, canvas, drawing and sculpture; they draw parallels with international issues that relate to borders, militarization, ethnicity and human rights. Essentially this artist’s entire body of work is dedicated to his plight to expose political corruption.

Chandraguptha Thenuwara holds a Master in Philosophy of the Institute of Archeology of the University of Kelaniya Colombo, Sri Lanka as well as a Master of Fine Arts with Honors of the Moscow State Art Institute.

In 1997 he began a series of work titled Barrelism in response to the change in the cityscape of Colombo during the war; the work focused on the use of the barrel as an object used in construction that transformed into an object used for obstruction.

Thenuwara’s work is made up of the juxtaposition of objects and witty paronomasia’s that he continuously exhibited even during a time when Sri Lanka’s freedom of speech was strongly inhibited.

The artist has moved from Barrelism on to Camouflage, Neo-Barrelism, Dhammapada, Post-Barrelism, Beautification, Electric Chair for Sale and most recently Glitch.

His series of work often transform themselves to represent the current times using transformations of symbolism the artist used to illustrate a previous state of affairs. In his 2016 exhibition, titled Glitch, the artist presented works playing on the malfunction of contemporary politics and society via imagery hidden within the pixelated linear paintings of glitches on canvas.

This year, M.O.B. presents a continuation of these works alongside installation and editioned sculpture, a reference to previous themes and an attempt to highlight dysfunctional politics.

Opening Date: July 23rd 2019

Exhibition will go on till August 13th 2019

Venue: Saskia Fernando Gallery; 41, Horton Place, Colombo 07;

Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm daily.

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