Buddhist paintings: Exhibition and documentary

Lanka Daily News, April 28, 2007

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Dr. Daya Hewapathirane, Advisor to the President with sponsorship of the Presidential Secretariat and the assistance of the Samastha Lanka Bauddha Shishya Sammelanaya will present a photo exhibition and a documentary film at the National Art Gallery from May 6 to 10 from 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. This is open to the public free.

The event will include an assortment of 400 exquisite paintings that adorn a diversity of historic sites of Sri Lanka, including those designated by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites - Sigiriya, Dambulla, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Mahanuwara. Included are paintings found on ancient caves, temples, monasteries, royal palaces, and within stupas.

They are associated with a diversity of surfaces, such as ancient cave and rock surfaces, walls including relic chamber walls inside stupas, ceiling, statues and related structures, on doors and other wooden surfaces, pottery and earthenware and on textiles in Buddhist shrines and historic sites.

These works of art are associated with a period that exceeds 2,200 years, from 3rd Century BCE to the 21st Century.

Some paintings of cave temples are over 2000 years and some more than 1000 years.

These paintings reveal vividly the richness of imagination, creativity, aesthetic sense and inspiration of our artists of the past and present times.

This even is planned as a place where people could see, appreciate and learn; a place that stimulates a sense of pleasure, pride and discovery; as an experience providing an aesthetic challenge resulting in a greater cultural awareness and discernment. It will be an opportunity for intercultural dialogue and appreciation.

Themes of these paintings highlight the life and teachings of the Buddha. Both the exhibition and film, takes one on a visual pilgrimage of many historic sites with exquisite paintings, providing an overall view of the overflowing richness of the nationís cultural tradition. Ancient paintings with secular themes reflect a spiritual predisposition.

The documentary film presents a considerable amount of information and interpretations on the nationís historic paintings and serves as a resource for those familiar with Buddhist art and for those interested in learning more on this exciting visual cultural heritage.

Photographs of paintings are products of Daya and Sesath Hewapathirane who are also responsible for the overall concept and design of the exhibition and the documentary film which were shown earlier in countries such as Canada, USA and Australia.