Dillai Joseph

Humanity and nature are two mutually reflexive concepts sharing a deep biological and spiritual interconnection. Almost all intricate cycles and patterns embedded in human life are universal and they appear to have a striking congruence with the miscellany of mosaic geometric patterns observed in nature. Therefore, this basic natural connection becomes one of the rudimentary principles in the aesthetic discourse. ARTRA converses with artist, Dillai Joseph, whose work on canvas dexterously attempts to depict the complexity behind nature’s underlying designs and its deep impact on human beings. Dillai’s conception to depicting this complex yet soulful interaction between man and nature through her works of art includes resolution and awareness to the concerns of the environment.

“Sometimes you have an idea and you are satisfied with it but there is no way to express it the way you want it. The concept is important. But to express it, you have to have the technical skill”. Dillai Joseph attempts to explore the concept of humanity under the light of nature. Raised in a background of the science of biology and medicine, Dillai’s bias towards art has inevitably been inspired by bodily or biological reality of human beings and its deep attachment to nature. Dillai’s focus was on tracing the complex relationship between Science and Art, and her vision as an artist is largely influenced by Leonardo da Vinci. She graduated from ACBT completing her bachelor’s in Communication Design while her education of Fine Arts was substantially received through the private tutoring of Nadine David, a student of David Paynter, an artist whom Dillai was much inspired by. Later on, she joined the advertising industry which provided her a professional platform to display artistic interests, skills and knowledge. With over 15 years of experience creating articulate works of art that depict humanity, nature and being, Dillai’s works have been displayed at renowned art festivals including Colomboscope and Galle Literary Festival. Her solo exhibition People, Puddles and Paradise (2018) explored the nuances of the environment, capturing distinct observations in her art.

Conversing with ARTRA, Dillai candidly confessed that “The kind of exotic picture we put on display for the rest of the world is not the reality. The beautiful blue sea or the greenery is not the paradise for me”. Her work is pregnant with spontaneity and naturalness that the subject matter of her art usually becomes people, flora and fauna as observed in natural settings. She further stated that for her, inspiration could come from any random passenger on the streets, a beggar, a trishaw driver with strange hairstyles or even the messy polluted environs of Colombo suburbs embroiled in chaos and noise. Further commenting on the fascination in nature and her colourful visualization of it, she added, “Sometimes in my head I am trying to match the colours in my colour palette, “is the sky cobalt blue today?, Is the paddy field having chrome yellow or is it sap green?, Has it changed?” and then you suddenly you realize that every day it is different”. She also stated that Sri Lankan culture which is a rich and dynamic aesthetic site is not sufficiently being captured on canvas by many artists. Contemplating on the function of art, Dillai comments that an artist must strive to awaken the conscience of people by providing them with critical insights through art. One of the recurrent motifs of her paintings is the concept of escapism in relation to the lives of women. Her art frequently features women in isolation with nature, celebrating freedom and individuality. Dillai emphasizes the immense power within nature to offer solace to human beings.

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6th March, 2020 Visual Art | Paintings

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