film festival in May
is the most important festival for Buddhists, commemorating the
Birth, Enlightenment and Parinibbana of Gautama Buddha.
Sri Lanka has been celebrating this festival on the grandest
scale like no other country. It is, therefore, it is calling for
the eyes of the world to turn towards Sri Lanka, during the
festival month of May, to showcase, not only the magnificent
celebrations, but also, the treasure trove of Buddhism, which
can benefit so many worldwide.
Light of Asia Foundation and the National Film Corporation of
Sri Lanka have therefore, undertaken to organise a unique
spectacle, as part of a greater national endeavour, to organise
a more integrated Vesak in 2009.
To be held at the BMICH from 9- 12 May 2009, this event will not
only consist of an International Film Festival and Workshops on
Buddhism, but also a Pandal, Cultural Dances, Art Exhibition,
Sale of Arts and Craft, Vegetarian Food Stalls and a unique
water fountain shaped as a dagoba.
The end product will be a “must see must visit” spectacle for
every one of the expected 300,000 people walking along
Bauddhaloka Mawatha each day during the Vesak Festival.
Vesak 2009 – Buddhist Film Festival will attract the imagination
of the general public for more reasons than one:
The Mobile Short Film Competition encourages the general public
to submit homemade Short Films on Buddhist Themes, using their
mobile phone camera. This will catch the attention of the
general public from the initial stages, as they consider
participating themselves, and subsequently, have their film
showcased to millions during the Vesak Festival.
Further, the seven best local and seven best international Short
Films submitted for the Short Film Competition will be showcased
on Television over the Vesak week, during a 1 hour special
programme on Vesak 2009 – Buddhist Film Festival. The Audience
Award for the Best Short Film will be awarded after counting SMS
votes from the audience.
The Awards Ceremony Closing Gala will be telecast, and some of
the well known Film Stars, Directors and Producers in Sri Lanka,
as well as monks and leading figures in Buddhist circles will be
invited. The organisers also intend inviting several
internationally renowned figures in the Buddhist and Film Making
The organisers are working to arrange packages including special
residential meditation programmes and guided tours of important
monuments around Sri Lanka for international participants to the
event. Further, special tour and accommodation packages will be
organised by the Tourist Board for tourists who visit Sri Lanka
in May. All of this is with the aim of encouraging international
participation for Vesak 2009.
‘En Plien Air’ means ‘in the open air’. It is a fascinating form
of art and, if done by a skilful hand, can bring out the wonders
of nature onto a canvas through just brushes and paints. This
form of art is very challenging and not easily mastered.
Although the technique was practised by artists for many
generations, its popularity rose during the mid 19th century, in
the light of Impressionism.
Also, working in natural light gained popularity with the
introduction of paints in tubes, making colours easier to obtain
than before, since the previous methods involved a tedious
process of making one’s own paints by mixing dry pigment powders
with linseed oil.
‘Plien Air Heritage’, an exhibition of such open air drawings
was held at the Lionel Wendt last week, featuring many ventures
of the painter and his wonderful talents. The Nation met this
talented artist, Ifthikar Cader, the man behind the lovely works
of art, to talk of his life as a painter.
“I have been painting since childhood, but until 1994, there was
nothing professional in my approach. I was a businessman. So, it
was only after retirement that I thought of taking up painting
professionally,” said Cader. He is a self taught painter,
drawing inspiration to learn through studying various paintings
and by reading material on the subject. Cader’s favourite local
painters are Justin Deraniyagala and David Paynter and admires
the work of Richard Schmid of the international artists, for his
wonderful skills with the brush and colours.
In 1996, Cader had his maiden exhibition. “I was really
surprised at the response! More than 10 paintings were sold,
despite being my very first attempt at public exposure,” said
Cader. Successively he had held many other exhibitions quickly
followed in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001.
Cader’s favourite medium is oil paints. “It is the traditional
medium of painting and the most widely used. I enjoy the feel
and the comfort of painting with oil paints,” said Cader,
explaining his bias for oil paints. “Even though it is one of
the most widely used mediums, to master the art of skilfully
using it in paintings is the height of challenge.”
At the exhibition, the accent was on local sights and scenes,
ranging from the Kandy Lake to the sparkling blue coastline
decked with leaning coconut palms, to tanks amidst the ruins of
Anuradhapura. “The main reason I like doing landscape paintings
is because I enjoy working outdoors. This is also a very
challenging form of art, since the scenery needs to be worked on
for many days, to surface its natural effect,” remarked Cader.
The most outstanding feature in this master craftsman’s
paintings is that they are alive. The water bodies seem to
ripple in the sunlight, a gentle breeze seems to waft out of the
scene and even the tiny moss on the rocks gleam with life.
“I specially enjoy painting in the southern coastal areas such
as Hikkaduwa, Galle and Weligama, because the natural light
there is ideal for my paintings.”
Cader seemed overwhelmed by the response he received this time.
“After some time, I felt quite embarrassed by the appreciation
and the admiration,” he said laughing and was thrilled with the
outcome. “Every minute of my life is valuable to me and am
determined not to waste a single minute. I wish to spend it
painting,” he concluded.