Chandraguptha Thenuwara Sri Lankan , b. 1960


Chandraguptha Thenuwara is an artist cum activist whose  body of work is dedicated to his plight to expose political corruption in Sri Lanka. In 1997 the artist began presenting his self-curated memorial exhibitions, presented on 23 July every year to commemorate 'Black July'. The exhibitions began with a series of work titled Barrelism, his response to the change in the cityscape of Colombo during the war. A multidisciplinary artist, Thenuwara's works connect painting, drawing, sculpture and installation made up of the juxtaposition of objects and witty paronomasias. His works  metmorphose to represent  current affairs using symbolism and themes approaching the subjects of conflict and adversity. 


Chandraguptha Thenuwara was born in Galle, Sri Lanka in 1960. He holds a Master in Philosophy of the Institute of Archeology of the University of Kelaniya Colombo, Sri Lanka as well as a Master of Fine Arts with Honors of the Moscow State Art Institute where he studied painting at the Moscow State Institute, USSR between 1985-1992.


In 1993 he founded the Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts (VAFA), an artist-run art school and exhibition space. His first solo exhibition was held at the Samudra Gallery, Colombo in 1978 and was followed by several exhibitions of his paintings in the USSR and Sri Lanka until 1995. In 1997 the artist launched his ongoing series of camouflage works entitled Barrelism at the Heritage Gallery, Colombo.  Conceived and executed across several mediums, Barrelism projects have continued until 2015 after which he began his Glitch series in 2017. He currently lives and works in Colombo. 


In 2007 he participated in the One Year Drawing Project Artist Book  curated by Sharmini Pereira of Raking Leaves Publications. 


In 2000 Thenuwara  installed a permanent monument for the Neelan Thiruchlevam Trust at their premises in Colombo. In the same year he was invited by the Kala Pe Api Organisation and the Asian Human Rights to create the work 'Monument for the Disappeared' currently installed in Seeduwa, Sri Lanka. 


In 2010 he curated Visual Responses during the War sponsored by the Centre for Policiy Alternatives and exhibited at the Lionel Wendt Gallery. Between the years 2015 and 2018 he  continued to curate exhibtions annually with a focus on the themes of human rights, displacements, conflict and adversity. 


His work has been exhibited internationally, from his native Sri Lanka to Australia, Asia and Europe. His works currently belong to private and institutional collections including the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan, Queensland Art Gallery in Australia, John Moore's Univerity Art Collection in United Kingdom, Fine Art Museum Umurtia in Russia as well as private collections in Sri Lanka and internationally.

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