Werewolf in Nuwara Eliya

That night in Nuwara Eliya
When Dom and I stumbled
Into the Grand, we had just re-met
And every moment was precious.
It took us ten minutes to find the bar
It was cold for Nuwara eliya and we
Needed a drink, desperately.
A single malt for Dom and a Port
For me. This was in 1993,

I turned towards the barman to place our order
And stopped, shocked. Next to us was the most
Extraordinary man I had ever seen, he was approx.
7ft tall. His ears were pointy, nearly as large as his head
A beard that tapered to a degree
His sideburns, thick, wide, designed
Angled to his mouth
A sweet smile. It was disconcerting.
Basically, your friendly neighborhood werewolf.
He bought us a round of drinks and
Seemed very glad to meet us.
We drank with him up to a point.

Said our goodbyes
And staggered outside into a sea
Of mist. It must have been midnight
the moon was full.
Shining bright with light
To show us the way
To the car-
we drunkenly
Drove the windy
Road back to the club.

Quietly distressed by the
Meeting of the man
Who looked like a wolf.

 

N.S.

June 2017

 

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Sweater Weather

 

 

Short days in Michigan

When the leaves turn to

colours of the earth.

 

The old man mowing his lawn

Wearing his slate cashmere v-neck with

holes under the arms, has never bothered

to get the thing darned.

 

Billy used the season to shoot

He would walk out into the woods with his Colt 45

Looked for Rabbit, Deer, if lucky, a Bear.

He wore a brown, round, wool neck sweater

that kept him warm.

It also camouflaged him really well.

 

No-one mentioned the time he was down by

The creek – – a body floated up, face down–

bloated and gross from being in the river for over

A week.

The sheriff hushed It up,

Billy was his son, you see.

 

The Sheriff wore a red lambswool sweater

to suggest authority, or perhaps, danger? and to keep visible.

He was beautiful to look at – A Cary Grant—with manners.

How us County people respected him.

The sole reason we never pursued the body story.

His word was Final.

 

Me, Autumn in Michigan, meant road trips—a six pack of

Molson in the car;  Ruben sandwiches and my best girlfriend.

We’d sing to Joni Mitchell and Carol King—perfect tunes for a fall sunset

that seemed to last forever. At night, Deborah Harry

blasted from the CD deck the stars shining brightly.

 

We did not need the moon or headlights to show us the way.

My girlfriend wore her purple sweater, made of Angora.

It smelled of Opium. I wore a cashmere jersey

in lime green.

 

We drove for days hitting the west coast

Got down at Full Moon Beach.

Threw our sweaters off,

and with it, our angst spinning emotions

Jumped nude into the Pacific Ocean

 

The water was cold.

We could very well had been swimming in

Lake Michigan—but,

It was worth it.

For the Road Trip.

2261 miles of it.

NS May 7th 2017.

Machine I loved

A low slung Volks

turbo charged, fast

(naturally)

did 130 miles on

the Arugumbay

Moneragala road

‘A poor man’s porsche’

my friend said.

Leonard Cohen crooning

as we looked

at the mountains

whizzing by

light poured in

the driver seat

comfortable enough to

race in.

I down shifted to third

then, back to fourth, fifth

as we turned the corner

on two wheels

the car did a one eighty

and smashed against

the hillside

we poured out

stunned, bruised, bleeding

we were ok

the car ok, too

German engineering

I thought

I loved this car

I was biased

Thank god we weren’t

driving the Prius.

NS FEB 13, 2017

Not Another Art Project

P1020729

The Colombo Artists, organizers of “Not Another Art Project”, have in this instance opposing ideas about the world of art where the curator is the custodian of the artists work– Not Another Art Project is the result of an exhibition that is not “traditionally” curated.

Instead, of using the curatorial route to determine to the artists on how to present their work, they have chosen to arrange this exhibition by virtue of an invite to the artists selected by them — based purely on the personal relationship they maintain with each of the artists — and have been overwhelmed and humbled by their response.

The Colombo Artists’ only criterion is that they have a direct relationship with each artist. Some artists they know better than others; some they have met via email; but, they are familiar with the work and in the artists approach in the way they manifest what they make.

Each artist has his or her own personal interpretation to what they create and are not dictated to in this exhibition by a theme: political, social, conceptual or otherwise.

This sharing of space by the artists is the point. They are excited to come together to exhibit as a group—to learn, be enlivened and encouraged by each other. It’s their way of honoring and saying thanks to each other – for the inspiration they all have shared in the making of Not Another Art Project.

The Barefoot Gallery has traditionally encouraged this form of artistic freedom and is looking forward to seeing the results of the project. The Colombo Artists are showing this body of work at the Barefoot Gallery commencing on the 8th of May 2013.

Nazreen Sansoni
Director
The Barefoot Gallery

Druvinka: A Creation Story

To paint, as to produce any work of art, is to engage in an act of creation. In Druvinka’s work, creation itself becomes the subject. Her large-scale abstract paintings speak of inspiration, gestation, and genesis. On these canvases, she evokes the very sources of life, both human and divine.
Born in Sri Lanka and now based in northern India, Druvinka has over the past two decades developed a distinctive body of work devoted to the deepest mysteries of the human experience, and the transcendent realms beyond. Washes of watercolor and tempera sweep across bamboo paper; acrylic paint is built up in layers. Out of these watery depths, geometric and figurative forms seem to emerge and dissolve. There are recurring themes: the dark slit of a yoni, the imposing obelisk of the lingam. There are spherical bodies—be they ova or planets—concentric rings, and shadowy penumbra. In some works, liquid stains spread across dark, cosmic fields. In others, tangled forms writhe in a static explosion, as if the artist has distilled the chaos of birth in paint.
A retrospective look at Druvinka’s oeuvre reveals a clear evolution. Ten years ago, her canvases exhibited tight control: flat planes and square edged boxes constrained a swirling universe, like narrow windows onto outer space. In works from this period (DM 005.JPG), there’s a sense of foreboding, as if these alien forms could swing out of orbit unless they were kept hemmed in, locked beneath layers of acrylic paint. Druvinka’s perspective in these works is remote, as if she wants to maintain a safe distance from her subject.
Over the next two years, her style relaxes and softens. Her forms become looser and freer, and the perspective draws closer to reveal overlapping, translucent forms where once there were stark, opaque boundaries. The image of the yoni or vulva appears again and again, central and distinct (DSC00652). Her palette darkens, almost as if the viewer is being drawn into an underground cavern where shadowy forms overlap and merge. The paintings of this period are pregnant with longing.
And then in 2007, as if bound by some mysterious process of creative gestation, Druvinka’s canvasses begin to feature a proliferation of pale limbs, a nearly human figure. Her palette shifts from brown and green to crimson and orange (DSC00214). Gone is the quality of fear and constraint, replaced with an almost maternal confidence. That confidence remains in her more recent works, where her mastery of both form and medium is evident. In works from 2009, clear figures surface out of the layers of paint and paper: Ganesh floats in the foreground or peeks out from some dark opening, while serpents snake their way around the perimeter. Even the phallus has taken on a new quality of realism, as if the artist has allowed these symbols to rise from the level of the unconscious.
Take for example an untitled work from 2009 (DS_090303_9109.JPG). Here, the thick, dark body of a snake winds its way around the frame, while the elephant hovers ghost-like at the center. At the base of this mythic dreamscape appears a male member split by a leaf-shaped cavity: a merging of masculine and feminine. At the upper left, the phallus appears again, as ghostly as a palimpsest. No longer hidden or resisted as in earlier work, these forms appear organic, as if they have emerged without effort or calculation.
In her most recent works, deities and human figures feature prominently, though always against a backdrop of liquid shadows and cloudy dreamscapes. Her once relentlessly dark palette has lightened to mauves and pinks, creams and yellows; there’s a new emphasis on the divine feminine: Lakshmi hovers here and there, her neck garlanded with serpents.
Though many of Druvinka’s symbols stem from Hindu mythology, it would be reductive to read her paintings as emblematic of one religious tradition. To linger with these works is to bear witness to stories that are at once deeply personal and universal—stories that resonate across cultures and ethnicities, creeds and eras. In this way, Druvinka conjures a new world, drawing from many traditions to forge a vision distinct and unmistakable: a world that suggests nothing less than the whole of creation.

-Elizabeth Schwyzer
Arts writer, Santa Barbara, California, USA
http://www.independent.com/elizabethschwyzer