Savouring the splendour of Semage paintings | Sunday Observer

Savouring the splendour of Semage paintings

Semage excels in Buddhist paintings. As a result, his services have been solicited to adorn Vesak pandals put up at the entrance of Temple Trees during the former President R. Premadasa’s regime

Kalasuri Dr. Jayasiri Semage will hold his solo exhibition of paintings titled ‘Splendour of Art’ at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, Colombo 7 from June 15 to 17. The exhibition will be opened on 15 June at 5.30 p.m.

Dr. Jayasiri Semage is an internationally known Sri Lankan painter who has brought fame and recognition to the country. He was born in Ambalangoda which has produced many artists of repute. He had his primary education at Dharmasoka Vidyalaya in his hometown. He showed signs of an upcoming artist even in school. As a student he held a solo exhibition of his paintings at the National Art Gallery in Colombo. It was opened by the former Director of Education S.F. de Silva. The exhibition received rave reviews from the press.

After leaving school, Semage joined the former Lankadeepa newspapers as an artist. The editor D.B. Dhanapala who realised Semage’s talents promoted him as the chief artist.

Unlike many other artists, Semage did not get himself involved in commercial art. It was mainly because he had built his own identity as a traditional artist due to the influence of Sigiri and Ajantha paintings. In 1974 he went to Malaysia on an invitation extended to the Lanka Kala Sangamaya. He held an exhibition of Buddhist paintings. While in Malaysia he received the rare opportunity of paintings murals at the Kuala Lumpur Buddhist Temple and the Penang Buddhist Vihara.

On his return to the island, Semage was recruited as an artist at the Publicity Division of the People’s Bank. Thereafter he toured in many countries such as Thailand, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Oman and Nepal holding his solo exhibition of paintings.

When he held an exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, one of his paintings titled ‘Rata Rakina Deth’ (The Hands that Feed) was selected to be exhibited permanently at the United Nations’ Headquarters. It was a rare honour granted to eminent painters such as Michaelangelo, Picasso, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Semage excels in Buddhist paintings. As a result, his services have been solicited to adorn Vesak pandals put up at the entrance of Temple Trees during the former President R. Premadasa’s regime. He also put up pandals at Gamudava exhibitions. His giant pandal at the Asia Pacific Exhibition held in Fukuoka, Japan attracted a large crowd. He was the only painter selected from Sri Lanka for the task. What is remarkable is that the 60-feet high pandal was exhibited for six months. Later he participated in Expo exhibitions held in many countries. The Sri Lankan pavilion designed by him attracted the attention of the international community.

Semage has done the murals at the Mangala Vihara in Singapore and the Lumbini Temple in Nepal. His murals can also be seen at Sri Bodhirajarama Vihara in Boralesgamuwa and Sri Priyarathanarama Temple at Dehiwala. About two years ago Semage held exhibitions of his Buddhist paintings at the Mangala Vihara and the Buddhist Library Hall in Singapore. At present he is getting ready for exhibitions to be held in Singapore and Malaysia where his paintings have received public acclaim.

(RSK)

 

Comments