Palette beyond blue and grey | Daily News

Palette beyond blue and grey

“A picture says a thousand words”, you'll realise this well-known saying whenever you see a painting done by an artist. Arts and crafts, contemporary art, art exhibitions, art galleries and now even art fares are the related phenomena when we discuss art in our country. Here art galleries play a major role to promote art among the general public and private art galleries are the common sight in the developed world.

We are fortunate to have such a private art gallery in our country, which is very popular among both local and foreign art lovers named “Semage's Art Gallery” formed by an outstanding artist Kala Suri Jayasiri Semage, which is at No. 3, Lilian Avenue, Station Road, Mount Lavinia, situated in a highly residential area, closer to the country's main city, Colombo and walking distance from the well-known Mount Lavinia hotel.

Semage's Art Gallery is so unique with compared to those private art galleries which are in Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, France, Italy, or Germany. Here the viewer has no barriers like seeing certain creations from a distance, banding photographs or hands-free from the exhibits on display. The gallery is opened throughout the year, including the government and mercantile holidays and this is a place where the viewers can enjoy their freedom of feeling the art in a calm and quiet atmosphere. Jayasiri Semage who shot up to the prominence from a humble newspaper illustrator to veteran painter has made it a point to display most of his acrylic, watercolour and oil on canvas paintings at his art gallery.

Some of the visitors to the art gallery are Sri Lankans working abroad. They invariably visit the gallery to purchase their favourite painter's artworks. Most of these Sri Lankans buy Semage's paintings as they remind of their countries heritage. They appreciate how Semage has done his paintings showing the Sri Lankan identity with the good use of colours and dexterous brush strokes. Their candid comments can be seen in the visitors’ book kept at the Semage's Gallery.

In addition to the regular visitors, many students can be seen frequently at the gallery as no entrance fee is charged. Jayasiri Semage attributes his success to his style has attracted many art lovers to the gallery. A few months ago Semage held one of his solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Japan. Also, he has exhibited his paintings in many countries around the world like Nepal, Switzerland, Sweden, Thailand, Malaysia and Finland. One of his paintings is on permanent display at the United Nations Hall in Geneva. Those paintings exhibited in other countries can also be viewed at this Gallery. What is remarkable is that Semage creates all his paintings in his gallery. He conducts his classes there as well on regular basis. As a result, many people visit the gallery to see how an artist finishes his art.

“You can learn a lot by viewing how an artist uses his brush lively by sitting in an art class. You will find it a new experience to see how the artist uses his brushes, mix colours, and finally, gives life to their artwork,” said Jayasiri Semage, turning to give the finishing touches to one of his latest paintings. 

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