Wijewardene should need no introduction. Her paintings have been
exhibited in Kuala Lumpur, Brisbane, Singapore and Britain as
well as in Colombo over the last decade; two years ago she had a
solo show in New Delhi and has now been invited to do a solo
exhibition in Sydney in 2005. Before devoting her time fully to
painting for many years her design work was sold in New York,
Paris, Milan, Frankfurt and Tokyo and her clients include
Givenchy. Cardin, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. During her time
in the UK her designs have been exhibited in the House of
Commons and the Victoria and Albert Museum. She graduated from
the acclaimed Central St. Martins College of Art and has
lectured there and at several UK Art colleges and now continues
to teach in Colombo.
Anoma says that it is the poet Rainer Maria
Rilke who has inspired her most recent exhibition of paintings.
Her paintings, which abound in symbolism and metaphor deal with
the numinous world. Each of her twenty-five mixed media
paintings takes their title from a Rilke poem. Each of them
tells a tale: a chronicle of seeking, searching and the eventual
awakening of the soul.
This is not an exhibition to hurry through, it
is instead one where you treasure each viewing, where a
different symbol is seen each time.
There was a time when spirituality and art were
inextricably linked. Spirituality is such a vibrant and integral
part of our lives that even our changing times have not stifled
the powerful partnership of spirituality and art in the modern
era. The realm of the spiritual is mysterious and inviting. It
is a place where we are encouraged to explore the unknown, to
search, ponder and reflect. Art reminds us that life is
stranger, more beautiful, demanding, Joyous and painful than
common sense knows.
Rilke’s spiritual poem Sonnets to Orpheus from
which many of the titles are taken, are concerned with the
"identity of terror" and "bliss and the oneness of life and
death". Legend has it that Rilke heard in the wind the first
lines of his elegies when he was walking on the rocks above the
sea — "who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels’
hierarchies? " It is that line that comes to my mind when 1 see
the depth and detail of Anoma’s paintings.
They are the colours of the spirit, the depth of
the soul. In her paintings we see the birds of life in flight.
There is a breathless lightness and a quickening of the pulse.
There is a re-birth of the soul and an awakening of the heart.
To me, Anoma’s paintings depict Rilke’s belief
in the coexistence of the material and spiritual realms, where
human beings are only spectators of life, grasping its beauties
momentarily only to lose them again. With the power of
creativity an artist can try to build a bridge between two
worlds: which in my view Anoma not only attempts, but also
succeeds. For me, her paintings bridge the poetry of Rilke with
the mysticism of the Sufis. Their essence is captured by the
Sufl poet Jalaludeen Rumi who said:
This is love:
To fly toward a secret sky,
To cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.
First to let go of life,
Finally, to take a step without feet.
Venue: Gallery Cafe
Dates: 19th November — 9th December
Time: 10 a.m. — 12 noon