Lotus Seeds

Surrealist watercolors by Mandalika Manjusri


Reception for the Artist: Sunday, September 8, 4-6 PM

Exhibition: September 1 – October 5, 2002

September 9, 2002 Article in
Colombo, Sri Lanka


Dr. Rama Coomaraswamy, renowned psychiatrist, thoricic surgeon, and philosopher, and son of the late philanthropist, Ananda Coomaraswamy, inaugurates this artist’s reception with the lighting of the traditional Oil Lamp. Ananda Coomaraswamy (1877-1947) was the world’s leading authority on South Asian philosophy, art, and artifacts, and was founder and first curator of the South Asian Department at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, comprised mainly of the gift of his personal collection.

Ms. Manjusri is the daughter of one of Sri Lanka’s foremost artists of the 20th century, the late Dr. L.T.P Manjusri, (1902-1982). As a young girl, she accompanied her father on his "artistic missions" while he carried out a relentless campaign to document the ancient temple murals of Sri Lanka. She soon shared her father’s passion for painting, and while evolving her own style, sustained her inherited tradition by continuing to copy these disappearing murals. Mandalika’s own work is ephemeral, spiritual, and minimalist, but based on the real. In her landscapes, people, trees, and houses become symbols with a distinct mythology that evolve into two-dimensional pictograms. Her water color "Kandalama" is very much a 'female' landscape -- undulations of the terrain are shown in sensual curves; a Madonna-like face with a slight tilt appears in "A Glimpse from Pondichery" and "Renunciation."


"Lovers" acrylic on paper


"Sublime" acrylic on paper

  From painting to painting, the symbolic content of these pictograms changes, questioning and reconstructing these symbols in an entirely new context. Objects and images are absorbed through minimalization, leaving out trappings and details, while imparting a feeling of tranquility and gentleness. Working with water colors in pastel shades -- powder blues, canary yellows, and vivid pinks, she experiments freely with transparent layers, achieving results that are unique to Sri Lankan avant-garde painting. In her documentation of mural painting, details and ornamentation are retained.  

"Boundaries" acrylic on paper


"Lotus Seeds" watercolor on paper


In 1980, Mandalika was appointed with her father to execute a series of paintings at the main entrance hall of the Sri Lankan Parliament building, She was later appointed with her brother
to adorn the walls of the main sitting hall of the Official Residence of the President. With many awards and scholarships, she has been invited to participate in numerous art exhibitions, and regional and international art camps. In 2001, Mandalika was nominated by the British High Commission of Sri Lanka as the Artist of the Year for the Wilton Park International Conference held in England.

Appointed by UNESCO, Mandalika has been involved in the documentation and conservation of the cave paintings of the Dambulla cave complex for several years, also participating in several important archaeological excavations carried out in Sri Lanka. In Colombo, attached to the Cultural Section of the French Embassy of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, she worked as the Public Relations Officer.


Dodanduwa Temple mural, Galle, Sri Lanka
(reproduction of historic mural painting) acrylic colors, 45 x 29"


Gallery curator, Johnes Ruta,
(203) 387-4933
, azothgallery@comcast.net

Return to York Square Gallery