The Story: The truthful sensuous struggle of yesterday’s survival | Sunday Observer

The Story: The truthful sensuous struggle of yesterday’s survival

16 August, 2020

“We go on a life journey through pleasurable and bitter struggling anxieties. In this journey, the activity, which were produced within the truthful sensuous struggle of the yesterday’s survival, is The story.

This eye opening theme description of Anusha Gajaweera and Buddhika Nakalandala’s online art exhibition ‘The Story’, open up a window for art enthusiasts to peep into the mysterious stories hidden behind in each abstract painting of the exhibition.

The Story

‘The Story’ is an eloquent, artistic attempt of artist duo, Anusha and Buddhika to give a different interpretation for hammers and nails that the artists used as a tool for their artistic endeavours while the same tools have a tormented history of violence.

“As a small boy, I was so fond of going to a carpentry-hut near my house to see the tools, and hammers loudly impacting on nails of various types to connect pieces of wood together into fascinating, playful shapes,” Anusha recalls his very first naive encounter of the tools which happened to be one of the subjects of his artistic endeavour much later, with his realisation of the brutality that can be brought out from the same tools once he was fascinated about.

Anusha was just 11 years old boy when Threema Vitharana, a medical student activist, was abducted and murdered. Large nails were put through his skull from the sides, and with ropes tied to them, he was dragged on the road and left on the side. That was the most brutal murder ever to hit local headlines. The brutal incident was sealed in Anusha’s mind. When growing up Anusha realised there is no end to social violence. It continues in different forms and ways. Today, in his art these tools, hammers and nails, oscillate between his nostalgic memory of intriguingly ‘connecting’ things into playful, beautiful shapes, and the never ceasing ‘violence’ of our tormented society. “With a hammer and nail I want to crucify violence so it will never resurrect,” Anusha says.

Printmaking Lab Online Gallery is a result of a long discussion of the artist duo. Since online exhibitions are increasingly popular in the world today and the immense passion for art drove them to try out a novel way to exhibit their work.

The cruel tool

Describing the technique and the concept of the exhibition Anusha says, “For this exhibition, we have used mixed medium on print on paper. In general, the major concept in my works is based on ‘power’, i.e., how the power behaves inside humans and how the powerless behaves before the power. So even in this online exhibition, I worked on this concept with the title ‘Story of Hammer with Nails’. Nails are the objects that are used to connect with one thing with something else. We use nails to hand something. It is an innocent object, but I gradually encountered stories of violence associated with this object. University students who were nailed on their heads in the 1980s, crucifixion of the Jesus Christ are such examples. So since history, the nail has been a cruel tool, and this background impacted on me. This is what inspired me to present ‘Story of hammer with nails’.

In terms of technological aspect the credit should go to my friend Buddhika on his technological knowledge and support to make this exhibition a reality,”

Printmaking technique

Speaking more about the Printmaking technique Buddhika stressed the fact that it was originally used as a form of communication and it is a valued artistic medium with unique technical qualities.

Explaining the process of printmaking he said, “It is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. To make a print, the artist typically creates an image on a flat surface. The surface is then inked, and pressed onto paper to create an original print. I learnt printmaking since my university studies. To fulfil my printmaking more successfully, I wanted an etching machine but I could not afford as it is too expensive. Anyhow, I was able to make one by myself. Then I printed on various surfaces such as paper, clothes, as monoprints, reflecting my artistic expressions,”

Ontological anxiety

To wrap up the conversation the artist duo explained that what they reflect through art is the ontological anxiety they are going through living in the ‘new normal world’ and highly complex society. As they say by doing art, they try to combine symbols and signs together. And it reflects there is no significant contrast between art and real life.

“Painting is usual activity just like eating and drinking. Especially during this pandemic period, that was the only thing I could do and loved to do, because I could release the stress caused by the pandemic. So I painted as usual and am willing to exhibit those works in the future,” Anusha says.

“Although the pandemic did not affect me or my art, I hope to employ this experience to reflect my thoughts,” Buddhika says. As an artist his sole goal is to complete and exhibit a magnificent collection of art work in the near future.