It was a lovely night at the Barefoot Gallery – the opening of the exhibition of Druvinka’s most recent works. The place was pretty packed when The Dancer, The Sibling and I got there, with a cross-section of mostly Colombo society that even included a couple of kottu regulars in the forms of Mala and a groundviews stalwart.

Druvinka, who lives and works in in Manali’s Kulu Valley in India’s Himachal Pradesh, studied art at Santiniketan, the School-Complex devoted to the fine-arts, music and dance and founded by Rabindranath Tagore in 1901. She’s from a family of artists – her father Mano Madawela was an artist, as is her brother Shehan, who also studied at Santiniketan and lives and works in India. Druvi has been exhibiting her work in Sri Lanka since 1991 and has exhibited in Malaysia, New York and London and hopes to display more paintings in Delhi come September. This is her fifteenth or sixteenth (she wasn’t quite sure!) exhibition at Barefoot

The sixteen paintings reflected Druvi’s current stage in the evolutionary progression of her art and the subtle variation from her last display was apparent. One of the recurring themes in this collection titled ‘Beneath Beyond’, were the understated images of Elephantus maximus indicus mixed in with her usual hints of the human form and sexual innuendo – lingams, yonis, et al. Druvi hasn’t departed from the use of dull shades of blue-grey-green and white, although this time, five or six of the paintings contrasted vividly due to the autumnal shades within. As Druvi described it, the theme has to do with that which has past and what is possibly achievable in terms of that elusive nothingness in space and time – that higher consciousness. The paintings, if you have not had the pleasure of seeing her previous work, are still massive canvasses and the thought always occurs to me that prospective buyers will surely have to possess the wall-space required in order to accommodate just one of them effectively. And this will not be easy as far as the larger ones are concerned. Be that as it may, a few had already been sold – in spite of the rather steep prices, not really affordable by most.

Java was also there, being the Druvi-fan that he is, and after a quick walkabout the Gallery to absorb the art, retreated to the bar end of the Café to indulge himself in getting his head in the right place and chatting to a whole host of friends and acquaintances that were getting on with the evening.

Dat’s right maan – an know what? Mos of dem folks be rappin bout dat obese scumbutt slitherin his way back to dose ranks of ministers an also how freedom of expresshun be under threat. Som folk tink dat even dem bloggers wit views opposing da Man’s an dose dat be criticisin his ass could be subject to bein hassled or even worse. Dere be dis general de-pressive tone goin roun, in spite of da good time dat mos of us be havin. Know where I be comin from?

I felt it too. The few that I heard bring this subject up were of the same views that Java says he heard – which put a bit of a damper on what was otherwise a lovely evening well spent – ending with one of Kollu’s delectable creations. We left close to midnight and the place was still buzzing!

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