By- Madhuri Bhaduri
Senaka Senayake (born 1951) is a Sri Lankan artist who attained fame early in life as a prodigy for his works of art. He had his first International one-man exhibition at the age of ten, in New York. Although he painted copiously and held many shows both in his native country as well as abroad, it was only after he went to Yale School for Graduation in Art and Architecture did he realize that his true calling lay in the field of art.
Yale, at the time, was pulsating with vibrant political activities and Senaka with his family’s political background was naturally drawn to it. However, those years at Yale were more crucial for him as an artist, for till then he had been largely self-taught. But at Yale, the formal classes of art training expanded his knowledge of the history of world art. After moving back to Sri Lanka post-Yale, Senaka immersed himself headlong into painting.
His years of training at Yale had helped him evolve a mode of expression which had matured greatly. He also began to delve deeper into the various environmental issues concerning Sri Lanka. Of them, he was particularly bothered by the rapidly decreasing plight of the rain forests, and his present series of works is an attempt to engage the audiences by making them aware of this pertinent situation. Senaka’s work has been shown in most parts of Europe and South Asia with critical acclaim. To date, he has more than 100 solo shows to his credit, and
numerous group shows in Europe, China, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Korea, and Egypt to name a few.
Senaka’s work has been documented by Metro Goldwyn, British Movieton News, BBC TV, London, Yeo Soo TV, South Korea, TV Austria, and Star TV, India. Various important magazines and newspapers such as The New York Times, Washington Post, London Times, Weser Kurier, Germany, UNESCO Features, Paris, National Geographic Magazine, Asia Week, etc. have written on his work.
I have enjoyed painting from my childhood as it has given me joy and freedom to express my creativity. My muse for the last few decades has revolved around the rainforest’s flora and fauna. I choose to paint them in their natural glory and not as depleted and destroyed vestiges. For me the paintbrush is my tool to fight for their conservation as I would like to evoke a consciousness for their preservation especially in the young. These tiny creatures be it butterflies, hummingbirds, pink gingers or any others occupy larger than life spaces on my canvas, resonating the magnificence of life.