Photo courtesy of Saskia Fernando Gallery
Artist Gayan Prageeth is exhibiting his latest collection, Eyes Only, at the Saskia Fernando Gallery. His work reflects a deep concern for the state of society and politics, delving into the psyche of the country by exploring such issues as corruption, enforced disappearances and the ethnic conflict. Other subjects include nationalism, terrorism, beautification and climate change.
The painting titled Eyes Only contains a geometric pattern positioned like a lattice in front of a church from the Easter Sunday attacks. Religious and ethnic intolerance, fundamentalism and nationalism have taken root in a globally connected society.
Two small plastic chairs contain vials with photographs representing the thousands of men, women and young people missing from all parts of Sri Lanka.
Surrealistic dismantled landscapes depict notions of growth and the destruction of the environment. The process of “beautification” is shown through dream-like paintings that ask the question, “To what end?”
The proud, floating head of a lion and a bathtub with a lotus pond remain in bleak and devastated landscapes. However, there are also slivers of hope. In a painting of a single lotus, there are seeds that are replications of Earth, anticipating better worlds that could come out of the destruction of the old world.
The recent prison riots are referenced in the installation PRISONERS ARE HUMAN BEINGS where the words are filled with charcoal and bullet shells. It brings out the fact that prisoners are vulnerable members of society and often the products of failed systems that fall short of justice and equality and that tend to criminalise poverty.
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