The Father of Sri Lankan Abstract Art H A Karunaratne’s 60 years of work which narrates a concept, vision and experiential engagement with abstraction is artfully captured in a 220-page publication by Taprobane Collection, penned by Artist and Co-founder of the Theertha International Artists Collective Anoli Perera. The book, to be launched on June 21 at the Olympus, BMICH will also be the platform for the launch of the Taprobane Collection website, which brings the Collection’s extensive gathering of paintings and artworks by Sri Lanka’s most celebrated artists into the digital space.
Collector and Promoter of Sri Lankan art with a special affinity for contemporary art, Founder of Taprobane Collection Shamil Peiris opines that a serious injustice had been made to a great Master as it is not just his inherent ability to use manifold media to express himself, but also his vast body of work that remains revered across generations. “He is this catalyst who has unleashed multi-generational talent and he must get due recognition on the global stage of abstract art. That’s the reason for the book.”
The book features Karunaratne’s rarely seen works held by private collectors including those by Kumar Sangakkara, Dharsh Peiris, Shamil Peiris and the Artist himself. Artworks by George Keyt, Ivan Peiris and Aubrey Collette owned by Shamil Peiris and those of David Paynter and J D A Perera from the Heritage Collection are used in relevance to Karunaratne’s influence as a modernist on Sri Lankan art. Contemporary artist and archaeologist Jagath Weerasinghe denotes that it is Karunaratne’s work that institutionalized the non-figurative and abstract tradition of art making in 20th century Sri Lankan art. “He is the first Sri Lankan artist to develop a complete discourse on abstract art.”
The Taprobane Collection website, created by digital specialists 230 Interactive brings together a collation of artworks by Sri Lanka’s most celebrated Artists. The launch phase focuses on the ’43 Group, showcasing the works of George Keyt, Richard Gabriel, Ivan Peries, Justin Daraniyagala, George Claessen, Aubrey Collette, Harry Pieris, Lionel Wendt, Manjusri Thera and W J Beling. Says Peiris, “The main objective of the website is to expose Sri Lankan contemporary art via a larger digital canvas because it is a debt we owe these great artists who have left a precious legacy that remains entrenched in the innate fabric of Sri Lanka’s art and culture.”