Marie Alles Fernando
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With patience, knowledge and skill, an artist develops this insight. Like meditation, it can take years of study and practice. But since the human species, unlike animals, has the ability to think and create, time and effort bring the creative experience within everyone’s grasp. If you know and like my paintings, you will also know that they speak for themselves. Well, now you know how they came to be created! And if you want to see more of my work, you are welcome to visit my gallery at 200 Sir James Peries Mawatha., browse around, and enjoy yourself!


This is a different matter altogether: the theory behind the practice, the philosophy behind the beauty. Remember Keats’ poem “An Ode To a Grecian Urn”, in which he celebrated a work of art that had outlasted time? Beauty is truth, truth beauty. The word ‘Aesthetics’ comes from the Greek (A-IS-THE-TI-KOS). It means “Sensitivity”, and for convenience we could see in it 3 essential meanings:

I perceive, I feel, I sense.

Let’s go back in history.

In pre-historic times there were no aesthetic doctrines or theories that guided the production of art. Ancient art was largely based on 9 great civilizations:
  1. Egypt
  2. Mesopotamia
  3. Persia (now Iran)
  4. Greece
  5. China
  6. Rome
  7. India
  8. The Celtic
  9. Maya
In all these civilizations (or ‘cultures’), people lived close to nature, their instincts were fine-tuned to harmonize with the environment that provided the ‘lessons’ on which daily life was based. Part of our modern concern for the imminent destruction of the environment comes surely from our recognition of these facts about the past: that people who cease to live close to nature and learn from it lose their capacity to feel. With that loss comes inevitably the loss also of creativity.

In each of these nine centres of civilization, people developed distinct and characteristic artistic styles. Why? Each had a different and unique environment. They developed and followed traditional forms handed down to them by their ancestors. In India, China and Africa, painting and sculpture flourished. The performing arts were much appreciated, and ‘abstract’ or ‘symbolic’ forms were valued long before Western influence reached them.

(Note: Christian missionaries to Asian regions in the 18th and 19th centuries, who had been trained in a different value system, were intellectually challenged and morally offended by the sculptures of Kajuraho, for example, and the multiple arms of sculpted deities in Jaffna temples. (They saw them as indecent, and grotesque.) An appreciation of the symbolic meaning of such images came much later, through the enlightened appreciation of such commentators as the Archers and/or Ananda Coomaraswamy.)
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