Saturday Magazine

Anup Vega: His art is his Manthra

Anup Vega says he is notorious. That may be so because of the way he presents himself: long hair, disheveled beard, multi coloured clothing that requires you not to blink in confusion the first time you meet him, the long chain with wooden beads. He has it all. But what he has apart from all the paraphernalia geared to make him different is his art.

Anup was born in Kurunegala but he now lives in Napana in the Dumbara Mitiyawatha. Educated first in the village school, he then went on to several others, finally ending up at Isipatana Vidyalaya, Colombo.

"I am a regular person, I drink, smoke, do all the things that normal people do but my art is my manthra" says Anup. He needs no special identification because many people know his work. It is difficult at times to connect the artist who in his last exhibition ‘Remaining Apart’ painted serene and at times dreamy works of art, to the individual high on energy and character. Nevertheless Anup, like many other artist who often needs a touch of eccentricity to nourish their artistic souls is a highly creative and energetic person.

In contrast to his previous exhibitions where he portrayed village life, scenery, nature and the like, in this exhibition he has limited his observations to one entity alone. This time it is a beautiful village damsel that has captured his art and his imagination. Does he have any deeper meanings behind his work, "none" he says. The paintings are like an exercise "like doing push ups" according to him. There is no need to have any deeper meaning behind what he does because drawing is what he does best. "I draw for pleasure" says Anup. Why only charcoal and pencil drawings this time and he says that he wanted a change and the Gallery liked his line drawings.

Anup is not alone in his artistry in Napana. He shares the beautiful village with many other souls who have creative genius within them. Surabha gurunnanse, George Keyt are two people who have previously lived in Napana, a few kilometers from Kandy. "Napana is a beautiful village, the people are beautiful and they make lots of beautiful music" it was revealed.

The drawings numbering around thirty are now on display at the Paradise Road Galleries, Alfred House Road, Colombo 3.

Pix by Pradeep Nishantha Herath




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