What Matters

What matters? The Sun, the moon and the stars. Love. The best kind. Unconditional, gentle, considerate and deep. Sex. Erotic, sensual, in unison. Babies in all their innocence. Family: the ties that bind us. Creating, creating original works that the world has yet to witness. Music matters. Meditation matters. Meditation is what will see us through. Exercise, yoga, specifically. Integrity matters. Integrity in action is authentic. Focus concentration and discipline will work. Find your light, shine with loving kindness, be mindful, be happy, may all beings be happy. People matter. Saying sorry matters, hard work matters. What matters is that we write. One day I hope to see my writing published in the form of a book. What matters? Matter, matters. Without matter, we won’t matter. No matter.

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Attempt at Haikus

Today the grass wilts
Tomorrow it grows taller
Green grass underfoot

Hot days ahead! May.
Spring has abandoned us for
A scorcher summer

Bananas in bowl
Blueberries in the mixer
A morning smoothie

Sophia studies
Economics and English
A-level exams

Dominic’s photos
In black and white portraits show
Outstanding people

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crazy dream

running through the woods
that hard autumn day
the cold almost froze
i thought i would stop
mid-track, turn into a piece
of beef, (or a cadaver)
hung in some butchers shop
people would stop and stare
look through the window-
i would squint and glare
until they turned away and
walked mile after mile onto
telegraph road—until i, the runner
ran to catch up to the crowd
that had stared at me at the
butcher shop.

i opened my eyes, and looked
outside, I had just woken from
the craziest dream I have ever had
must have been the steak
i had for dinner the night before
at that fancy restaurant known as
‘monsoon ice’.p1010485.jpg

BE HERE NOW

 

BE HERE NOW

Be here now.
Said my father
How? I asked?
Puzzled by it’s
Seemingly simple
But complex notion
I am here
Isn’t it obvious?

No. My father, said
Your mind is all
Over the place
To be here now
One must truly
Be present.

In body mind and soul
At one with oneself
And the universe
Be here now ridicules
running away
From life experiences
And responsibilities

That’s when the anxiety
Sets in. the anxiety reminds
Me to feel
Really feel
The moment
Love truth anguish

Be here now
Is difficult
As the mind
Listens to the music
In the background
Be here now is interrupted
By Ashira walking in.

So all I can conclude
From this exercise
Is that to be here now
Is not easy.
It demands concentration.
A brain that focuses
Under different circumstances
I am all over the place
But here. Not here.

Usually , over there…

Interview with Prasad Hettiarachi

 

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Prasad Hettiarachi when he exhibited at The Barefoot Gallery in 2015. He was introduced to me by a good friend and a British Artist who has  exhibited with us since 1995: Alex Stewart. Alex saw Prasad’s work at the Theerta Gallery in Borella and invited Prasad to come and see his work that was on show at Barefoot. Prasad came and was suitably impressed and inspired. Alex and Prasad have a lot in common. Both draw in miniature, Both use symbols to represent concepts and ideas, Alex’s are more in the mythological realm and Prasad’s symbols are grounded in his environment.

 I caught up with Prasad at the Barefoot Gallery to speak to him about his 2nd exhibition titled EXCLUSION, his ideals, and life in general. We spoke in the studio upstairs surrounded by beautiful pieces of art—Prasad’s exhibition was on view downstairs at the Gallery below. It was a blustery day, the monsoon was in full swing as were the kohas, their screeches loud and familiar, so unlike Prasad whose voice is gentle and dignified. Prasad struck me as highly intelligent, soft-spoken and very kind.

 What prompted you to become an artist?  I come from a background of art lovers. My father, H. A. Nandesena, worked as a painter, a wood polisher, and he liked to make things. He taught me how to paint at a young age—same age as my children are now. He is very clever person. He won the national lantern festival, came 1st in 2005 & 2006. I started seriously painting in Grade 6 – I’d see my father sketching drawings and other things—I thought and hoped to be a visual artist. I worked at painting. My other mentor was my teacher at school. He is a Buddhist Monk and his name is Pallathathara Thero- These were the two major influences in my early life.  I passed my O-level- and A-level exams with a distinction in Art. I had the grades to get into The Visual and performing Arts but missed the university deadline.

How do you work? I work in Mirissa temple as a conservationist at the SAMUDRAGIRI VIHARAYA  of temple. . I wake up in the early morning and catch the bus to Mirissa, which takes two hours. In the evenings when I comes home i spend time with my family helping the kids with their studies, talking to my wife; After which, I start painting, I work on paper and canvas working simultaneously on my paintings going back and forth on each one.  I don’t have a studio i pains everywhere; my easel is whatever is handy and near. His children’s desk, the floor, a table.  His favourite piece of art is one he worked on Last May Day, I worked on a set design with fellow artists and we painted a very large dragon holding a strong hand. (people power) The drawing is in the Fort. Today, my main job is working as a free-lance artist for the Central Cultural Fund.

Tell me how you came to call this exhibition Exclusion? Name was proposed by my friend and fellow artist, Laksiri. Exclusion is derived from Latin meaning to SHUT OUT. Every day I see my society and the lives of the people are changing very quickly without their choosing. Prasad would like the Government to give the people, freedom to think and act, freedom to live the way they want to, to be confident and to be able to trust the Government, to be secure. The gap is too big between rich and poor; and our taxes and funds are going into politicians’ pockets. Working people have problems, every day Government is not addressing their issues. Mega-projects are coming and moving their properties. However, he does not say that their lives are all about their problems.  Prasad shows in his painting that the ordinary persons’ views can also be funny and colourful. They have problems, like everyone–but they are choosing answers, sometimes wrong, sometimes right, but their lives are moving forwards.

What and who inspires you? What inspired this exhibition and why? He is stimulated by Party Politics, articles about art and politics in books, magazines and the internet, and his talks with friends, He enjoys discussing questions on politics and problems – He compares the daily news with party politics. This is what inspires him. HOWEVER, Prasad is an artist, as an artist he appreciates beauty, he paints about these problems with beauty— He thinks the LSSP party is right- he connects with their ideals., he has empathy for humanity at large. His favorite artist is Roy Lichtenstein he likes most of the modern artists such as Warhol and Jackson Pollack. 

Is there an artwork here that is your favourite?  And why? His favorite piece is: Knife sharpening machine is VI – it’s the one on the invite, and it’s the first painting in the knife sharpening series. He likes the color range. Emotions symbolically float up and disappear. This person has many hopes and emotions and they vanish every day –- the symbols represent the ordinary man and his hopes and dreams.

 

What is your favourite tool in your studio? A 000 triple brush. After painting a mural, the brush lost most of its hair and Prasad liked the result so he made his own brush called  it a triple 000 brush a brush with very little hair—Prasad’s brush. His brush makes it easier to paint intricately and in detail. Look at his paintings closely, there is much to see.

 What role do you as an artist have to play in society? I don’t want to be a star; my work is the star. 

 Prasad’s vision for the country: Equal. People should enjoy the same rights and privileges, usually accorded to the powerful and wealthy. This system does not support the ordinary man—system has to change—a revolution has to happen—Prasad is socialist with liberal leanings. The Government has no money. Our taxes should fund people’s projects. Thinking pattern needs to change. Working class people think that the Government has no idea of the common man’s problem. I don’t have an answer, all I know is that it’s a long journey. Every government has good policies for the people to start with, these need to be implemented with the help of intelligent men and women with good ideas and vision. Unfortunately, the ideals don’t follow through.

What’s integral to your work? The viewer integral to my work. Because they are the last judge of my work. They fill the white space with their character, their views, whilst being inspired by including Prasad’s ideas. He is hopeful.  Hope is important. We all must have hope.

What next?  Prasad would like to go an artist residency. I draw, make relief type sculpture and installations.  All filled with the miniature art. He is working on an exhibition which he hopes to hold next year at Barefoot







 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wedged heart

Deep in my heart a wedge does lie

I’m willing to throw a dart to hit it clean and fair

Instead I breathe, breathe deeply and sigh

The cause of the wedge is mine—let’s try.

 

Was it the afternoon I drove back from Galle?

Hail! Thunder and Lightning quite a scare

Voice on the radio warning us to go with care.

the highway is dangerous to drive anywhere.

 

Wait! is the wedge my children? My poor mother, too.

My husband, Dom, my in laws? ‘How do you do?’

A lost love, another life, what could have been?

it’s  bittersweet now, all that I have seen…

 

The wedge comes and goes. Today it sticks, like a thorn to a rose.

Tears pour down my face, I am thankful for god’s grace.

To analyze the pain, sitting in the car in the rain

One goes back in time, breathes, the mind arace.

 

To gratitude: of course, I’m grateful! So what if I’m Fey?

The wedge is lodged, embedded deep. I long for the comfort of sleep

Not yet, not there, the exit is quite far. Stay awake!

Don’t fall asleep. Keep breathing the wedge out, however deep.

 

At last the exit, I take the turn, drive to the booth to stop.

Pay my toll and on my way, keep breathing the hardness away

And suddenly, I am aware, that this feeling of a wedge

has disappeared, is not there?  was it the stress of the drive?

 

Maybe. Could be, should be, yes! Driving is difficult

When one can barely see, the car in front, the road, a tree.

The rain is ceasing, the breathing is easy

At last: Home. the dog runs to greet me.

 

Unpack my bag get on the mat

Do a few yoga poses, here comes the cat!

5 kittens to feed all are shivering.

My body feels better, no more dithering

 

I draw a bath then into bed, take meds, then cover.

Dream of mayhem and accidents oh what a shower!

I suddenly wake up to another day. Stretch and yawn.

The wedge has gone, the sun shines bright. Oh how I love, love, love the light.

 

 

N.S.  APRIL 15, 2018