An aimless village lad, who through singleminded tenacity of purpose, determination and hard work in the chosen career, achieved the rare recongition of being one of the most significant artists of modern Sri Lanka (Dharmasiri, 2001-9).
The epitom in his journey as an artist was when he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award and an Honorary Doctarate from the University of Peradeniya in 1979.
Born in 1902, Manjusri entered the Buddhist monastic order in 1915, and by 1922 earned reputation as a scholar in Sinhala, Pali Sanskrit and Buddhist Philosophy. He thereafter went to Tibet to learn Chinese. He visited Shantinekatan on his return jounrey where he met Nandalal
Bose who introduced him to painting.
Back in Sri Lanka in 1934, Manjusri started making copies of Buddhist temple murals. These murals were then taken back to Shantiniketan and exhibited together with some work of Rabindranath Tagore. During this time he met Harry Pieris and George Keyt who infulenced him to join the 43 Group (which he was to leave in 1947). Soon afterwards,he travelled to England and held an exhibition in 1948 in London of mural copies and other paintings of his own. He also held exhibtions in Vienna, Austria the same year.
On his return to Sri Lanka he reverted to lay life and became a journalist first in ‘Lankadeepa’ and then ‘Silumina’, ‘Janata’, ‘Observer’ and ‘Daily News’. In 1977, the Archiological Society of Sri Lanka published his book ‘Decorative Elements from Sri Lanka Temple Paintings’.
It is important to note the Manjusri’s work has been acquired by the New York Public Library, the Horniman Museum, the Vienna Museum and numerour private collections.
Refrences: Weeraratne (1993) and Dharmasiri (2001-9)
|Name of Exhibition||Year||Place|
|Joint Exhibition with Rabindranath Tagore||1930's||Santiniketan|
|’43 Group 2nd Exhibition||1944||Darley Road, Colombo|
|100 Frescoes and 30 Originals by Manjustri Thero||1947||Art Gallery, Colombo|
|Frescoes from Ceylon Temples and Original Paintings by Manjusri Thero||1948||South Kensington, London|
|Ceylon: A Painter’s Country: An Exhbition Illustrating the Practice of Painting in Ceylon from the 5th Century to the Present Day||1960||South London Gallery, Camberwell, London|
|43 Group exhibition to honor George Keyt||1991||Colombo|
|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|
|Design Elements from Sri Lankan Temple Paintings||1977||L.T.P. Manjusri||Lake House Printers Ltd.|
Other Publicaitons the Artist has been mentioned in
|Art in Sri Lanka – The Anton Wickramasinghe Collection||1988||Albert Dharmasiri||ANCL – Lake House|
|Modern Sri Lankan Painters||1992||George Keyt Foundation||Siri Printers|
|43 Group||1993||Neville Weereratne||Lantana Publishing|
|Moods and Modes – 50 years of Sri Lankan Painting||1999||The Goearge Keyt Foundation Text by: Martin Russel, Nihal Rodrigo, Ellen Dissanayake, S.B. Dissanayake||Aitken Spence Printing|
|Visions of an Island – Rare works from Sri Lanka in The Christopher Ondaatje Collection||1999||Neville Weereratne||Harper Collins Publishers Ltd|
|The Presidential Collection – Contemporary Sri Lankan Art||2008||Presidential Secretariat||Presidential Secretariat|
|Sri Lankan Painting in the 20th Century||2009||Senake Bandaranayake and Albert Dharmasiri||The Nationl Trust Sri Lanka|
|Artful Resistance – Contemporary Art from Sri Lanka||2010||Sylvia S. Kasprycki and Doris I Stambra||SKF Publishers|
|The Heritage I, II, III||-||Albert Dharmasiri||R. Rajamahendran|