Shantha K. Herath:
The performer on sketchpad
Shantha K. Herath. The youngster has gone wild with sculpture and painting. Meandering through paddy lands looking for a little bit of clay is the boy's pet hobby.
He wants to form something; it can be anything he has in the surrounding: a temple, a statue, the mother, a buffalo, anything.
The sculpting does not make the boy happy yet. He draws on a piece of paper what he has formed. His teacher-parents narrate their child's prodigal craziness to their colleagues. The colleagues take a glimpse on Shantha's paintings. "Let him follow that. Don't force him to do something he doesn't like."
The crazy boy becomes the proud editor of his school magazine - his hands become full with those drawings and page layouts. His chaps want him to try sending some drawings to a newspaper too.
"My ambition was to enter this institute. But unfortunately, I was short of a few marks. Haewood became something I cannot afford. But I didn't give in easily." While breathing the Haewood experience through friends like H A Karunarathne and Stanley Abeysinghe, he joined Divaina as an artist. His life at Divaina is interesting.
"When I grew up to be a professional artist, they gave me a separate room. W Wijesoma was posted in the room next to mine. We had good times. Our leisure was spent with many talks on different things. Wijesoma cleared my path. I regard him as my giant shadow."
An artwork done for a short story
"Sometimes sub editors asked me for drawings to be given in 10 minutes. There was hardly any time to think deeply and get to work. Most times I had to be fast." With all these aside, Shantha had the blessings from his colleagues and superiors.
"All the editors I worked for were very understanding. They knew that my job needed much concentration. That's why I was given a separate cabin too. My colleagues also knew that and didn't pop in unless it is important. In fact, I had a good working environment."
"I have seen many cartoonists doing the same cartoon-type drawing for articles too. But I want to be different. Cartoon and artwork for an article are poles apart for me. I am discovering new things day by day."
Shantha's one-time stay at Piliyandala was lovely; he could dabble in his sculpture craziness. There were many clay spots in the area.
"I began studying both foreign and local works on sculpture. The British Council books, of course, talk about either American or European techniques. But they are kind of out of place here.
"I began going to libraries to see and enjoy sculptures and paintings. I came home to imitate them. I cannot just explain how I got my skills honed, if you think there are any." Shantha has many things to say. But better let him get into the most important subject. "I have collected all kinds of cartoons from 2002 to 2005.
I am going to exhibit them from March 6th to 9th at Lionel Wendt Harold Peiris Gallery. On March 6th I will launch my book 'Sethes' at 4pm, and the exhibition will be held then onwards. It starts from 8am and will be over by 7pm. So it will be really great if you could just drop by and have a little talk with me one of those days."
Tuesday, 4 March 2008