Pope’s bust by local sculptor ready for visit


by Randima Attygalle

An admirer of Pope Francis, who is to visit the island in a few days, Upali Dias, a sculptor and an artist from Boralesgamuwa had created a bust in the likeliness of the Pope. The sculpture which is made out of fibre is about one ft tall. Speaking to Sunday Island, Dias said, "although I’m a Buddhist, I admire the personality of Pope Francis and I was keen to do a creation in his honor."

According to the sculptor, although a rewarding labor, the figure of Pope Francis is a challenging study. "If we study 100 photographs, there are 100 dimensions to him. Such is his unique persona. Although it took only two weeks for me to complete the fibre work, studying him took much longer."

He is working on another larger sculpture of the Pope which he hopes to gift him during his visit to the country. Dias said that his work had been blessed by the Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka, Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Tot.

Dias who uses bronze and terra cotta as his medium, apart from fibre, has gained international exposure. Short film-making is also a pursuit. His work is displayed at several state and private organizations including the Public Library, Colombo. His sculptures include figures of President J.R. Jayewardene, Kumar Sangakkara, President Obama and Michael Jackson.

A full time painter and a sculptor, Dias had been strongly influenced by his father Wimalasena Dias- a golaya of eminent artiste Somabandu Vidyapathi. His work of Rama-Ravana battle is still displayed at SLBC. "My father who came to Colombo from Balapitiya, was a gifted artiste who largely worked with cement and bronze." A father of two girls, Dias hopes to have a solo exhibition of his work, probably in an overseas gallery.

Pix by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi and Sena Vidanagama

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