An artist increasingly popular as a Sri Lankan cartoonist was enjoyed by many, though, would not have been satisfied with every political attitude he was to take. His work was originally seen in the ‘Times of Ceylon’ and later in the ‘Observer’ and ‘Daily News’.
He gave a sharp edge to his drawings which cut deeply but never maliciously. Collette was gifted with the art of observation: in the early days to be noticed by Collette was in itself an honour.
Collette’s ‘1954 FACES’ which was published in that year is a collection of seventy-three pastel studies of prominent Sri Lankan personalities. These portraits were also seen at an exhibition at the Colombo Art Gallery. Another book ‘Sun Tan: The Asian Sensation’ was published in 1985 by the Times Books International.
His subjects were mainly politicians and people in public places. The remarkable talent of Collette was the ability to summarise these figues not just for their appearance but for what they truly were. Dr. G. P. Malalasekera wore his OBE perpetually pinned on to his white shirt; C.W.W. Kannangara held aloft the pearl of great price of free education – small symbols that marked their special conceit.
His work was happiliy recived in Australia, Malaysia and other places mainly because it tapped the universal foibles they symbolize and not merely lay open with surgical precision of the individual personality he caricatured.
The portraits of George Keyt, Ivan Peries and others of the 43 Group are indeed works of a master achieved with accuracy of line, economy and an unfailing touch of affection and humour.
Extracted from Rodrigo (2001-9) and Weeraratne (1993)
|Name of Exhibition||Year||Place|
|43 Group 2nd Exhibition||1944||Darley Road, Colombo|
|43 Group 3rd Exhibition||1945||Darley Road, Colombo|
|43 Group 4th Exhibition||1946||Darley Road, Colombo|
|43 Group 5th Exhibition||1947||Guildford Crescent, Colombo|
|43 Group 6th Exhibition||1948||Guildford Crescent, Colombo|
|43 Group 7th Exhibition||1949||Colombo|
|43 Group 8th Exhibition||1950||The Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo|
|43 Group Contemporary Ceylonese Painting||1952||Imperial Institute, London|
|Exposition de L’Art Contemporain De Ceylon||1953||Paris|
|Exhibition of Contemporary Painters from Ceylon||1954||The Heffer Gallery, Cambridge|
|6 Contemporary Ceyloneses Painters||1954||Artists International Association Gallery, London|
|43 Group 10th Exhibition||1955||The Art Gallery, Colombo|
|43 Group 10th Exhibition||1956||The Art Gallery, Vennice|
|Exhibition of Contemporary Paintings and Drawings from Ceylon||1956||Arts Council Gallery, Cambridge|
|43 Group 11th Exhibition||1956||The Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo|
|43 Group 12th Exhibition||1957||The Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo|
|43 Group 13th Exhibition||1959||The Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo|
|A Loan Exhibition of Commonwealth||1960||Norwich Castle Museum, UK|
|43 Group 14th Exhibition||1964||The Art Gallery, Guildford Crescent, Colombo|
|43 Group exhibition to honor George Keyt||1991||Colombo|
|Sketch book||2008||Sapumal Foundation, Colombo 07|
|Exhibition of the ’43 Group and Other Artists by The Taprobane Collection||2017||Nelum Arts Centre, Colombo|
|Name of Book||Year of Publication||Author||Printer|
|Ceylon since Soulbury – Part 1||1948||Aubrey Collette||The Times of Ceylon|
|1954 Faces||1954||Aubrey Collette||-|
|Sun Tan: The Asian Sensation||1985||Aubrey Collette||Times Books International|
Other Publicaitons the Artist has been mentioned in
|Art in Sri Lanka – The Anton Wickramasinghe Collection||1988||Albert Dharmasiri||ANCL – Lake House|
|43 Group||1993||Neville Weereratne||Lantana Publishing|
|50 years in Cartoons||1998||Compiled by six authors||Associated Newspapers of of Ceylon Ltd|
|Visions of an Island – Rare works from Sri Lanka in The Christopher Ondaatje Collection||1999||Neville Weereratne||Harper Collins Publishers Ltd|
|Moods and Modes – 50 years of Sri Lankan Painting||1999||Martin Russel, Nihal Rodrigo, Ellen Dissanayake, S.B. Dissanayake||George Keyt Foundation / Aitken Spence|
|J.R. in Cartoons||2002||Prematilleke Mapitigama & Piyasiri Nahawatta||Sridevi Printers (Pvt) Ltd|
|Artful Resistance – Contemporary Art from Sri Lanka||2010||Edited by Sylvia S. Kasprycki and Doris I Stambra||SKF Publishers|
|Supplement to the Sapumal Foundation||2018||Rohan De Soysa||The Sapumal Foundation|
|The Heritage I, II, III||Albert Dharmasiri||R. Rajamahendran|