Mayantha Perera, a student of the University of Visual and Performing Arts is a painter working primarily in oils. The artist’s work includes nudes in either dystopic environments or huddled together in the dark, religious imagery, and surrealist portraiture. The artists paintings make heavy use of light, shadow and texture, and at times depersonalize figures through erasure, while at other times embedding them with highly dramaticized facial and bodily expressions.
For Colomboscope Mayantha Perera paints scenes from personal memories tracing the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka and several other coastlines in 2004. The artist attempts to paint from a subjective lens, charting scenes from his family's journey in attempting to locate his grandfather who was lost to the tsunami.
The artist is concerned with the ways in which we record childhood memory and the remnants of trauma that remain. Tragedy escapes representation, and yet there is a catharsis in depicting those times of anguish as creative interpretations. Perera who was nine at the time of the tsunami, and has only a vague memory of the quick paced time of panic, destruction and loss. He recalls his grandfather as a storyteller and companion who left the house one morning, promising to return soon, but finally arrived three days later in a coffin. In the Death of Grandfather series, Perera embeds landmarks from the southern coast into his paintings to reconstruct and make concrete his fleeting memories. In the the recent years when the landmarks of the southern coast of Sri Lanka have been imbued with exotisized visons of paradise, Perera’s paintings reveal the undercurrent of trauma and sustained grief as well as the many failures of disaster management. Perera’s works intervene into the commodification of the ocean, by providing a sobering picture, reminding us that nature will always be the great equalizer.