ARE WE THE SAME AS WE WERE YESTERDAY?
Parahuman by Hashan Cooray
“While the clock ticks, we too have evolved intellectually. Thus, we witness the dawn of a whole new species.” The world is evolving, and it’s time we witness its change; head over to Saskia Fernando Gallery to experience a new world through artist Hashan Cooray’s eyes. The exhibition is opened till the 2nd of May, 2019 from 10:00 AM to 06:00 PM
1. AN ARTIST OF REVERIE
Artist, Hashan Cooray has gained recognition for his distinct style of abstract painting after his first two years of presenting works in group exhibitions in 2014 and 2015, at ‘Nawa Kalakaruwo’ at the JDA Perera Gallery. He then proceeded to showcase his exceptional pieces of art in the following years after which he opened his own solo exhibition ‘L A B R A T S’ at the Saskia Fernando Gallery in 2017. In 2018, he had two group exhibitions, ‘Embodying Power’ at the Sapumal Foundation in Colombo and ‘Island Mentality’ at Saskia Fernando Gallery. His most recent group exhibition ‘Leo Art’ (2019) took place at the Lionel Wendt Gallery in memory of Lionel Wendt.
2. ART BRINGS CHANGE
‘Parahuman’ is an exhibition of abstract paintings depicting the change and evolution within the species ‘Homo sapiens’ – ourselves. His work is made to ask the question: ‘Are we the same as we were yesterday?’ Hashan paints the beginning of a chapter in a world where humans are not driven by conscience, compassion or love. He uses intricate detailing and chaotic brush strokes, representing the dawn of a whole new species. His works of art contain inscriptions quoting words of a poem, inciting in the viewer the need to rethink, the artist’s main objective is reached – the witness backpedals, their mind transporting, realizing, the observer evolves intellectually.
3. WITNESS THE DAWN OF A NEW SPECIES
In his collection, ‘Masochist Poem’ Hashan uses a range of conflicting colours and an organized mess of strokes from brush and pencil. His portraits are carefully painted faces of humankind that he’s declared are the evolved species. Discreetly inscribed letters point to a hidden meaning while suggesting a connection between the distinct paintings in the same collection. His series ‘Parahuman’ exists as an assortment of artworks created with acrylic and graphite while some are mixed media works of art. Each piece is unique in its way that it incites a sense of a new world; Hashan’s aim to generate an evolved universe with a new species of Homo sapiens is achieved through his masterpieces.
4. ARE WE HUMAN OR HUMAN-LIKE?
When going through his collection, we found two works of art that were different from the rest. Majority of his works were portraits that directly addressed the theme of ‘Parahuman’ where his acrylic and graphite collection is dexterously constructed forms of an evolved human figure while his mixed media collection are a series of inscriptions on paper, emphasizing and bringing light to his goal, ‘Parahuman’. Among this series of inscriptions on paper, Parahuman I and Parahuman II do not carry a human figure, instead the word ‘Parahuman’ is written all over as if the artist is trying to instil this notion in the viewer’s subconscious. We interpreted Parahuman I as a symbol where the rose fuses with a skull; a reminder of the inevitable connection between life and decay. Have a look and let us know what you see and think!
5. A SPACE OF EVOLUTION
Like any other extravagant festival, exhibition, or performance, space is always a key factor. The Saskia Fernando Gallery where this exhibition takes place, complimented Hashan’s works of art tremendously. The pieces were placed strategically so as to allow just enough light to strike the painting and allow the viewer to see beyond what’s just on the surface. While every frame is a masterpiece on its own, they are hung alongside with the intention to bring out their intimacy – some hung as lone portraits, enhancing its stability as a masterwork, showcasing its capacity to elicit deeper meaning.
“Imprisoned in a digitalized world, the room for rational decision, observation, goodwill and understanding is slowly fading away.” Witness, as Hashan Cooray creates a new world – an evolved species – there’s no time like now, don’t miss out!
ARTRA is Sri Lanka’s Art Magazine exploring curated content on Sri Lanka’s visual art, performance art, applied art and written art. Launched in 2012, ARTRA Magazine is a compact monthly art read providing a comprehensive understanding on Sri Lankan artists, art events, monthly art calendars and the Sri Lankan design landscape. In sum, all you need to know about art in Sri Lanka.