Firi Rahman was educated at the Foundation of Art and Design at City and Guilds at the Manchester College UK. His body of work consists of hyperrealist drawings, wherein he prefers the elegance of black ink pen drawings to evolve precise and substantial textures on paper within the spectrum of black, grey and white. After completing research on the subject of extinction accompanied by his own advocacy against the increase in endangered species in Sri Lanka alone, he began work on drawings of animals that depict their story within markings and the illustration itself. Moving away from direct representation into a narrative of purpose, the artist combines story with the movement and character of his subject, using detail to create a seemingly tactile creature. As a Malay artist based in Slave Island, Rahman immersed the fields of conceptual cartography in his latest series. On large format he unfolds a partly historical, partly fictitious view of Slave Island to the spectator. Although his intentions are rather personal besides historical research, he follows the tradition of artists as historiographers. He spotlights the threads of multiple historical narratives running through Slave Island, which makes it a unique space in Colombo’s urban historical identity.
Artist Firi Rahman responds to urgent shifts occurring within Colombo and the lived impact of gentrification in Slave Island. For Colomboscope, Rahman addresses the degradation occurring within water-based ecosystems over longer time phases as a result of rapid urban growth and commercial infrastructural development. These transitions are catalogued in Taste Karaththé via generational oral histories and communal testimonies in an animated public installation that is on the move between Rio Complex and Galle Face Green.