My series of paintings acknowledge the Pattern & Decoration movement and its ideals, while expressing my unique vision rooted in my South Asian heritage as a Sri Lankan immigrant and Person of Colour.
“Decoration” provides the underpinnings of the visual culture of many non-Western traditions and is still embraced as vital and relevant. Recognizing that decoration has been vilified historically by Western art critics as being non-intellectual, feminine, and inconsequential, my work challenges this notion rooted in Euro-centrism and celebrates the rich history of these cultures.
These works can be described as “exotic” illusory landscapes hovering between representation and abstraction. Largely painted intuitively, and drawing on art, objects, murals, tiles, textiles, wallpaper as reference, they are a mix of objects, nature imagery, patterning and ornamentation. Within the paintings I create narrative and tangential connections reflecting intersections and migrations of various cultural visual languages from South Asian to Middle Eastern to Western. Within this eclectic mix they become vehicles to express my concerns for the loss of nature, the echoes of colonialism, migration and transformation. Through reinterpreting and recontextualizing these forms within my own unique style and content, this synthesis is a way of speaking to the “in-between space” of varied social and cultural realities that I inhabit. The cross-cultural dialogue in these works also invites the creation of new meanings and understandings in the viewer for whom these cultural symbols may be out of their realm of experience. Finally I strive to make each work political, poetic and beautiful.