Chandraguptha Thenuwara is an artist cum activist whose entire body of work is dedicated to his plight to expose political corruption in Sri Lanka. In 1997 he began a series of work titled Barrelism in response to the change in the cityscape of Colombo during the war; the work focused on the use of the barrel as an object used in construction that transformed into a an object used for obstruction. Thenuwara’s work is made up of the juxtaposition of objects and witty paronomasia’s that he continuously exhibited even during a time when Sri Lanka’s freedom of speech was strongly inhibited. The artist is also known as the island’s best portrait artist and completed his Masters training at the Moscow State University. His series of work often transform themselves to represent the current times using transformations of symbolism the artist used to illustrate a previous state of affairs.
Over the years Thenuwara’s show has evolved to represent the current political situation in the country. In his newest exhibition titled ‘Glitch’ the works presented are an abstract presentation playing on the malfunction of contemporary politics and society represented in canvas paintings hidden within the pixelated linear paintings of glitches. This is the third of Thenuwara’s solo exhibitions to be presented at the Saskia Fernando Gallery. After working with the gallery since 2009 this marks the artist’s move from his annual presentation at the Lionel Wendt Gallery to his representative gallery in Colombo. This is the artists self-curated show which falls on 23 July every year to commemorate Black July, a day in history where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ambushed the Sri Lankan Army killing soldiers resulting in seven days of riots across the country and the Tamil people were murdered and many of their homes destroyed.
He has presented solo exhibitions at Maroondah Gallery Victoria, City Gallery Russia, Colombo National Art Gallery as well as group shows including Art Dubai 2016, Colomboscope 2015, Colombo Art Biennale, Bengaluru National Gallery of Modern Art, Breese Little London, Asia House London, Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Helsinki Museum of Contemporary Art, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and the Devi Art Foundation.
Saskia Fernando Gllery