In conversation with Thenuwara, he explained his transition to paper over the last decade: “This is the continuation of the 2005 One Year Drawing Project (a book project by Raking Leaves). Prior to this, drawing for me was largely a preliminary study for my painting, sculpture and installations, and I never thought I would exhibit these drawings. I had an opportunity to show some of these works before 2005, but after 2005 it became a new experience for me to work on this medium. Particularly for me, as an artist working during the day on what is my ‘survival’ job, I have less time in my schedule to paint. I also prefer to paint with daylight. Drawing offered me a chance to continue living as an artist and also gave me more time to explore a new kind of expression.”
Chandraguptha Thenuwara presents an exhibition every year at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, Colombo. The exhibition is funded entirely by the artist himself and features a series of work that commemorates the riots of 1983 known as ‘Black July’, not only by the choice of his opening date, but also through the subject of his paintings, sculpture, and installation. Thenuwara is an activist, and while he is the only artist locally who has consistently exhibited his own work on an annual basis, he is perhaps also the only artist who chooses to dedicate his entire practice to the communication of his ideals and beliefs about the social, political, and cultural climate of Sri Lanka.