Sri Lankan artist paints to highlight climate change


Sri Lankan painter Senaka Senanayake in his solo show "Paradise Lost" attempts to give a wake up call to the world to conserve its flora and fauna.

Senanayake, who is known for his commitment to social and environmental causes, has in his latest series sought to draw attention towards the depleting rainforests world over.

"Since 2005 I have been working on the theme of rainforests and think my creations hold relevance in the present world order ahead of the climate change summit," says the artist.
Senanayake, is in the capital for his exhibition which will be held at the Art Alive Gallery here in conjunction with the Climate Change conference in Copenhagen and culminate on December 18.

"My paintings reflect the mood and shades of rainforests from different parts of the world mainly Sri Lanka thereby attracting the viewer to visit them. Through my paintings I want to draw the attention towards the depleting rainforests which are a major cause of change in the climatic conditions", says Senanayake.

"Sri Lanka has already lost 70 per cent of its rainforests which is a grave matter of concern and hence my work is a platform to save its early depletion during this important decision making week", says the artist.

Between 1990-2005, Sri Lanka has showed one of the highest deforestation rates of primary forests in the world. A survey carried out in 2005 found that 17 of Sri Lanka's frogs have became extinct in the past decade and another 11 species face imminent threat of extinction unless their rainforest habitat is secured.

Minister of State for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor who inaugurated the exhibition said, "I hope a positive outcome from the summit as climate has now become a grave issue to handle. With Senaka's paintings pointing towards the very issue, the world order must acknowledge the need to cut down carbon content in order to make the world look beautiful as it looks in these paintings."

Senanayake who began his formal education in art at the age of five held his first solo exhibition at the age of eight followed a year later by two very successful shows in the US – one in New York and the other in San Diego.
At fourteen his work had adorned the walls of the White House. And since – his paintings hang in the UN building in New York, museums, private collections and corporate headquarters of multinationals around the world. He has held over a hundred solo exhibitions worldwide.

"Sri Lanka has already lost 70 per cent of its rainforests which is a grave matter of concern and hence my work is a platform to save its early depletion during this important decision making week", says the artist.

Between 1990-2005, Sri Lanka has showed one of the highest deforestation rates of primary forests in the world. A survey carried out in 2005 found that 17 of Sri Lanka's frogs have became extinct in the past decade and another 11 species face imminent threat of extinction unless their rainforest habitat is secured.

Minister of State for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor who inaugurated the exhibition said, "I hope a positive outcome from the summit as climate has now become a grave issue to handle. With Senaka's paintings pointing towards the very issue, the world order must acknowledge the need to cut down carbon content in order to make the world look beautiful as it looks in these paintings."

Senanayake who began his formal education in art at the age of five held his first solo exhibition at the age of eight followed a year later by two very successful shows in the US – one in New York and the other in San Diego.
At fourteen his work had adorned the walls of the White House. And since – his paintings hang in the UN building in New York, museums, private collections and corporate headquarters of multinationals around the world. He has held over a hundred solo exhibitions worldwide.

The painter's works are stylised and highly influenced by the Buddhist paintings of Sri Lanka. The artist stresses on the need to paint a positive attitude which in a way gives a soothing and pleasing touch to his paintings.

"I have held many exhibitions all over but India holds a special place as I feel connected to the people here. There is a lot of similarity between the two nations making their people bond well," he says.

Next on Senanayake's agenda is endangered animals. "I have begun my work on endangered birds and now I will focus on animals. Their extinction need to be highlighted through every possible medium and I am doing my bit", says the painter who works primarily with oil.

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