Chandana Ranaweera

Following the footsteps of his father who was an instructor in arts, Chandana Ranaweera entered the field of art. During his student days at Maliyadeva Boys’ School in Kurunegala, Ranaweera’s creativity flourished under the guidance of art teacher S. M. Jayatilake. He followed a course of study conducted by veteran artist Sumana Dissanayake. On completion of his education, he joined Lanka Kala Sangamaya where he followed a one-year course in art in 1989.

24-copyCourtesy Explore Sri Lanka

He held his maiden exhibition of paintings entitled “Ehipasiko “at the Public Library. It was a mix-media including collage, graphics and line drawings on themes such as drummers, the Buddha and life in general.

In 1992 he held an exhibition of line drawings entitled “Nawatha Emathima” at the Public Library, Colombo in 1994, Chandana held an exhibition of line drawings entitled “Varnarekha Kavya”. In 2000 he held an exhibition of paintings entitled “Samadhi Chinthana” at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery. The surprise visit by the then Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Gopala Krishna Gandhi and Tara Krishna Gandhi, on reading an article on Chandana’s paintings by Prof. Ashley Halpé, had been an encouragement for Chandana.

The exhibitions by Chandana include “Samadhi Chinthana” I, II, III and Line Lyrics at Alliance Française in Kandy.

He has represented Sri Lanka at international exhibitions held in India, Japan and Bangladesh. The UN has used his paintings on numerous occasions for picture post cards in 1991. For the picture post cards, only four artists’ works have been selected. In addition his paintings have been used as cover pictures for Shahitya Kalapola, a publication by the Department of Cultural Affairs.” Ranga Chandrarathne / 30 August 2009 / Sunday Observer

Chandana Ranaweera 1999
Chandana Ranaweera 1999 (Suriyakantha Collection)
Edwin Ariyadasa / 8 December 2002 / The Island / about "Samadhi Chintana 3" / Alliance française de Kandy

The young Artist Chandana Ranaweera, has his creative roots, deep in the soil of this land. The terrain out of which he has emerged, is not only the physical world around him. The material environment nourished his body and his human capabilities. His life is a product of the rural atmosphere, to which he was born and in which he was raised.

His soul, his spiritual being and his inner-self, are all, the result of the cultural forces that moulded him from his childhood on.(…) 

The technique adopted in the present series is largely that of the collage. In some of his telling collages the implication of sacred tradition is portrayed through fragments of ola-leaf manuscripts attached to the painting.

Daily News 22 may 2003

Ranaweera who is highly inspired by the Buddhist thought transpires his deep feelings onto paper with watercolours. In most of his works we can observe the application of a balanced blend of the Sri Lankan traditional and modern techniques of art. Occasionally he employs the technique of collage in execution of his works of art.

Although Ranaweera’s exhibits seem to be abstracts from at a glance, they belong to a different category of art. The scent of the Kandyan period murals smells from the exhibits of the ‘Samadhi Chintana’. Ranaweera’s works of art are deeply rooted in the art tradition of Sri Lanka.

Chandana Ranaweera 1999
Chandana Ranaweera 1999 (Suriyakantha Collection)
Risidra Mendis / 17 0ctober 2004 / Sunday Leader An insight to a creative mind

Chandana Ranaweera is no ordinary painter. A look at his paintings makes one wonder what goes on in this painter’s mind. Inspired  by what he saw around him Ranaweera has been successful in painting figures of gods and men. Most of his paintings portray a combination of lines, colours and figures. But for Ranaweera, each of his paintings has a story of its own.

Prof. Ashley Halpé says: “He spends hours creating idiosyncratic figures of Gods and men, mendicants and guardians, hours on the meticulously laid our backgrounds and inner spaces created with hundreds of thin pen strokes, squiggles and whorls, with pointilliste brushwork with unpredictable and unfashionable splotches of pastel colours.”

“But the figures he evokes have been drawn with swift audaciously elegant lines producing whimsical mouths and noses, suddenly staring or weirdly hooded eyes with drapes, accoutrements, tridents and what you will, sketched, sometimes just suggested with marvelous economy and certainty.”

According to Prof. Halpé, there are totally unpredictable spaces and inspired collocations in a quirky world that is surely the unique vision of an instinctively original mind despite the deceptively simple identifications in terms of Buddhist themes and tales.

R. S. Karunaratne / July 2007 / Daily News Artscope / about Lineal Lyrics II

Chandana Ranaweera belongs to a new generation of artists who experiment with lines. He has perfected this art so well that he creates wonderful line drawings without much effort.

Chandana Ranaweera 2002
Chandana Ranaweera 2002 (Suriyakantha Collection)
Ranga Chandrarathne / 30 August 2009 / Sunday Observer 
Signature of versatility in Chandana’s paintings

The most striking feature of Chandana Ranaweera’s paintings is his disarming genuineness in expression. His brush strokes which make mosaics on the canvas are truly the innermost expression of Sri Lankan identity with particularly rural flavour. It was the spiritual nourishment together with unique Sri Lankan culture which makes Chandana’s painting special and unique even among Sri Lankan painters’ work. His forte seems to be in the line drawings with an omni- present influence of the moon on almost all of his paintings. He loves painting under the soothing moonlight using light colours which in a particular way depicts the indomitable personality of the artist himself. His preferred media are collage and line drawings.

Ashley Halpé / Daily News / 5 January 2011       Refined skills and creative imagination

The art of Chandana has earned perceptive and enthusiastic critical commentary from Edwin Ariyadasa, Gwen Herath and the present writer. A substantial collection of his work can be viewed at his rural home Mallika Niwasa in Alawwa. No believer in guru mushtiya, he eagerly and generously passes on his skills and knowledge of art history and artistic understanding to generations of young students at his old school, Rathanalankara Vidujala, Alawwa, where he teaches and where I have had the opportunity of admiring what he is doing when I was able to visit an art show at the school. His students have won recognition and several awards at art competitions.

Gwen Herat / Sunday Observer / 11 May 2014       A new language in abstract art

Chandana Ranaweera does it in his own inimitable way turning the ballpoint into some sort of art and come off uniquely different. All he needs is a piece of art paper and a ballpoint; no brush, no palatte, no paint and nothing at all. On first eye contact it may be difficult to comprehend as to what his art is all about but as one keep gazing, there is depth behind those harsh line some are irregular and some in blank formation.

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