Why do I think that I can make a perfect painting when everything else in the world is totally screwed up and collapsed?
Known as a leading contemporary artist as well as an archaeologist, Jagath Weerasinghe has been an influential figure in the development of Sri Lankan contemporary art. Weerasinghe himself coined the term ‘90s Art Trend’, describing the politically conscious work of his peer group. His own practice is at the core of it and he went on to co-create the Theertha International Artists’ Collective, fostering new artists and initiatives. In the late 1990s he was commissioned by the Sri Lankan government to design a monument, ‘Shrine for the Innocent’ memorialising the innocent victims of violence experienced in Southern Sri Lanka in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The monument was subsequently demolished to give way to post-war city beautification projects.
Weerasinghe’s works have been exhibited in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, India, Netherlands, Germany and Japan. They have bravely captured the some of the most difficult topics to revisit in modern Sri Lankan history, including the inhumanity of the protracted civil war, ethnic riots and identity crisis of belonging to the majority Sinhalese.
Full Artist Statement
“What inspires me to do art is the human condition in general. As we know being human is so cumbersome. I work around the frustration of the individual when confronted with organized political violence. The main dilemma I try to make sense of is how and why the very forces that should critically engage with social injustices are in fact acting like naïve accomplices of the very system that perpetuates violence…”