Koralegedara Pushpakumara (1968)

“Calamities and atrocities is a theme which can be expressed in diverse ways. Chaotic arrangement of materials in Pushpakumara’s way is, perhaps, appropriate to represent the theme graphically. The exhibition is marked for its sheer use of discarded hardware materials in installation art. However, a significant aspect of his use of material is the management of space and redefining.” – Ranga Chandraratne

Koralegedara Pushpakumara received his higher education in Painting and Sculpture from the University of Kelaniya, and has since then been a notable presence in the contemporary art scene in Sri Lanka as a participant of the 90s Art Trend. Pushpakumara continues to tread the career path of professional artistry with success, and is currently based in Colombo. He is also one of the founding members of the Theertha International Artists’ Collective, a group of contemporary artists that work towards the betterment of the Sri Lankan art scene. He currently lives and works in Pannipitiya, Colombo. 

 

Pushpakumara’s early works are mainly paintings emphasizing the human figure, highlighting his personal experience of anguish as a citizen affected by the civil war. His paintings express pain and suffering caused by the brutalities that were around him during the 1990s in Sri Lanka, and emphasize the individual being affected by external socio-political and cultural events. As an artist who mainly worked alongside expressionism, presenting quite personal and subjective responses to the civil war, focusing mainly on the emotional effect created on the viewer, Pushpakumara’s style was unique in the manner in which it produced a more mature, sharper and calculated technique of art. His paintings from the early 2000s are therefore alluring to the eye, while also being emotionally moving as well. 

 

Pushpakumara has since then entered an arena of experimentation with sculpture created using barbed wire. His latest solo exhibition Goodwill Hardware is a manifestation of his craft using the materiality of barbed wire to engage with the same issues of human pain and anguish. Other material such as transparent tubes, barrier tape, tent material, metal chains and nails were used to complement the craft created using the barbed wire. Pushpakumara had also manipulated the space that had been given to him by the art gallery, ensuring that the white structure of the spacious room allowed him to play with the motif of the barbed wire, with the art defining the space and not the other way around. The artist’s aim was to portray daily dangers and everyday chaos through material that is easily at his disposal.

While the dangerous quality of the barbed wire still exists, it is limited by Pushpakumara’s manipulation of the material to recreate situations that are essentially secure. This can be identified as a commentary on dangerous political ruses and maneuverings that attempt to hide and forget human suffering caused by past unacceptable socio-political circumstances. The installation Barbed Wire which was exhibited at the Colombo Biennale 2016 is quite similar to the concept behind “Goodwill Hardware”. Three artworks using barbed wire as the main motif were part of the installation, bringing into focus the extremist political behaviour of certain religious and ethnic communities in Sri Lanka during the post-war period. The materialistic construction of the three artworks sheds light on the segregation, brutalization and the growing sense of insecurity that were being perpetuated during the time in the socio-cultural and socio-political arenas, through the cleveruse of barbed wire. 

 

Jagath Weerasinghe interprets Pushpakumara’s craft as such, especially in relation to Goodwill Hardware: “Pushpakumara posits the ‘material’ as the main expressive element in the artwork. In other words, this illustrates the use of ‘material’ in the artwork retaining the same meaning it has within the human/ cultural usage as well as with the same meaning they are used in extraordinary socio-cultural and political behavior at present.”

Name of Exhibition Year Place
Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture 1997 Heritage Art Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Exhibition of Painting 1998 Kandy Arts Council, Kandy, Sri Lanka
3rd International Art Exhibition 1998 National Art Gallery, Sri Lanka
9th Asian Art Biennale 1999 Gallery of Silpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh
No Order Group 1999 VAFA Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Artists for Peace: Flag Exhibition 2000 Selected Public Places, Sri Lanka
An Art Exhibition for Peace and Reconciliation 2000 Gallery 706, Colombo, Sri Lanka
A New Visual Vocabulary in Contemporary Sri Lanka 2000 Volspark Enschede, Netherlands
Four Artists: Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture 2000 Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Four Artists: Exhibition of Painting 2000 The Havelock Place Bungalow, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Exhibition of Paintings 2000 Paradise Road Galleries, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Exhibition of Paintings 2000 Kandalama Hotel, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
2001Reflections, Four Artists: An Exhibition of Painting 2001 Indian Cultural Centre, Colombo, Sri Lanka
1st VASL International Art Exhibition 2001 Amin Gulgee Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
Exhibition of Paintings 2002 Barefoot Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Contemporary Sri Lankan Art 2004 G.T.Z. Office, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Aham Puram 2004 Public Library, Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Urban and the Individual 2004 Finomenal Space Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture 2004 Gallery 71, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Exhibition of Paintings 2004 Paradise Road Galleries, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Contemporary Sri Lankan Art 2005 Museum of far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, Sweden.
Contemporary Sri Lankan Art: Artists for Peace 2005 National Art Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings 2005 Finomenal Space Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings 2006 Barefoot Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Goodwill Hardware 2009 Theertha Red Dot Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Theertha – Works on Paper” 2009 National Art Gallery, Male, Maldives
Imagining Peace, 1st Colombo Art Biennale 2009 Colombo, Sri Lanka

Other Publicaitons the Artist has been mentioned in

Name of Book Year of Publication Author Printer

Ref :PK 40

Title :Face and Phallus (ii)

Signed :Upper Right

Year :1999

Measurements in Cms :78 x 118

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :78 x 118

Ref :PK 38

Title :The Head (iv)

Signed :Lower Bottom Right

Year :2000

Measurements in Cms :56.5 x 46

Material Used :Acrylic on Jute/Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :56.5 x 46

Ref :PK 48

Title :Female Nude (i)

Signed :Lower Right

Year :2003

Measurements in Cms :82 x 61

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :82 x 61

Ref :PK 6

Title :Unveiling the Confusion (vi)

Signed :Lower Middle

Year :2004

Measurements in Cms :65 x 52

Material Used :Mixed Media

Dimensions in Cms. :65 x 52

Ref :PK 35

Title :Man with a Kettle (ii)

Signed :Middle Left

Year :2004

Measurements in Cms :105 x 140

Material Used :Mixed Media on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :105 x 140

Ref :PK 46

Title :The Man (iii) ii

Signed :Lower Right

Year :2004

Measurements in Cms :97 x 68

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :97 x 68

Ref :PK 47

Title :The Man (ii) i

Signed :Upper Middle

Year :2004

Measurements in Cms :96 x 75

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :96 x 75

Ref :PK 1

Title :Man with a Jug (ii)

Signed :Upper Right

Year :2005

Measurements in Cms :96 x 75

Material Used :Mixed Media on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :96 x 75

Ref :PK 2

Title :Man with a Vase (i)

Signed :Left Middle

Year :2005

Measurements in Cms :44 x 52

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :44 x 52

Ref :PK 7

Title :Man with a Kettle (v)

Signed :Lower Middle

Year :2005

Measurements in Cms :92 x 71

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :92 x 71

Ref :PK 36

Title :Man with a Cigarette (v)

Signed :Lower Middle

Year :2005

Measurements in Cms :108 x 89

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :108 x 89

Ref :PK 37

Title :Friends (i)

Signed :Lower Right

Year :2005

Measurements in Cms :86 x 125

Material Used :Mixed Media on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :86 x 125

Year Institute Qualification
1997 Institute of Aesthetic Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. BFA (Painting and Sculpture)
2003 Postgraduate Institute of Archeology, University of Kelaniya. Sri Lanka. Diploma in Archaeology
2014 Postgraduate Institute of Archeology, University of Kelaniya. Sri Lanka. Reading for MA (Art History) - CHECK