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Life in square circles

Left to right standing Rohitha and Senake, seated left to right Jeewantha, Roshan and Ajith

By Jayashika Padmasiri
The square is a strange figure. There are triangles, circles, rectangles and various geometric shapes in this world. However, something we do not realize is that we live within our own squares and that we are trapped inside them. Sometimes, we come out of them, only to return to them again. We associate with squares, live with squares, breath within squares, and work within squares. It has no end. But, in this contemporary connotation of squares, there are constructive aspects too. A square is a belief. And the exhibition Squares conducted by five undergraduates showcased the talent, faith and the love for water colours, still prevalent in this world.
“Today, though many people use water colours, they do not know the proper techniques. Even in schools, most students use water colours without knowing the techniques. It is not about just covering the canvas with colours but, of giving colour to the canvas. Every stroke has passion and meaning. It was our desire to impart this technique to the outside world. To make people aware of it and to enlighten them of what water colours truly are. What it can do. So, with this intention, we formed a square, and got ourselves into it. Now, the five of us are on a journey, to take water colours into the world. Maybe, with time, five turn out to ten, then twenty, and so on, it will be enhanced. This square that we are in, will improve with time while are objective will remain unchanged. We want to improve the knowledge of water colours and this Square will continue to grow,” said Senake, one of the five artists.
All five of them are studying art at the Visual Arts Faculty. To an artist, art is life. Its definition changes from individual to individual. Soul talked to members of the Square to explore their world within this square, to see what motivates them, and as to what ‘art’ means to them, within a square.
Ajith is a third-year student at the university. His art is mostly landscapes, of villages and the rural beauty. “Surrounded with split colours” was the slogan written about his art. “I paint with brush strokes, what my eyes capture. It is what I perceive that I paint. The thought develops into art, and sometimes imagination also gets painted into colours and textures on the canvas. If my mind perceives beauty in a contemporary situation, I capture it on canvas.
Roshan is also in his third year. “I’m free with strokes”, reads his slogan. “I like to capture, what my eyes see, in a couple of strokes. I want others to see, what I see. Roads, busy streets, daily traffic, and the routine of life. The morning, as I see it, and the afternoon as it comes to me, I capture it all in my brush and paint it on the canvas. When I see people with busy routines, it inspires me. It maybe just a couple of strokes but, in those strokes, as I move the brush, my life keeps pace with it. Every stroke of my brush, draws life into me and gives me pleasure. Its not just a hobby, it’s a way of life.”
Senake is the guy who came up with the idea to create the Square. His slogan says, “There are colours in me, now I’m in colours” Colours are beautiful. I love colours. They create illusions but, I still love them. When I came upon this slogan, I wanted to know what Seneke meant, and I asked him, he said, “I live in colours, my life is inside colours because, I spend time with them. I try to paint the actual hardships of life. Today, everyone is running after something. Trying to hold on to what they treasure. Touch what they love. Feel what is lacking in their lives. The struggle never ends and the distance, only seems to grow. I paint what I see.” He added.
Unlike the rest, Jeewantha is in his second year. His creations depict the daily life of people and what they are subject to. His slogan reads, “Art begins suddenly and from nothing. To me, art is created without any effort. It is a medium where one could express one’s freedom of thought. I want to present what I see with a difference, in a way that would evoke pleasure in others.” he said.
Rohitha’s paintings mostly capture themes of landscapes and human figures. “What I feel is what I see” his slogan said, “I try to convey what I see, via my paintings. It could be a memory or, a situation that captured my attention. What I feel is what I see, the way things appear to me, and I hope people understand what I convey in my paintings.”
Each of these artists exhibited twelve paintings, with a total of 60 paintings, at the Squares held at the National Art Gallery. The exhibition will be held every year and hopefully, their aim will be fulfilled. However, it does not alter the fact, that life is a square, where we are all trapped within our own squares. Nevertheless, at least, in this instance, these youthful artists seem to be giving colour to their own squares.

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