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Six Degrees of Separation: Chaos, Congruence and Collaboration 2008

From 2008-01-01 to 2008-01-01

An exhibition to celebrate international art exchanges and collaborations facilitated by the South Asian Networks for the Artists (Network) was held at the Red Dot Gallery. Similar exhibitions were organized by the Network members ( Khoj- India, Britto- Bangladesh, Vasl - Pakistan and Sutra- Nepal) in their countries simultaneously. The works of Sarath Kumarasiri, Pradeep Chandrasiri, Koralegedera Pushpakumara, Anura Krishantha, Pala Pothupitiya and Thisath Thoradeniya, six artists who have been part of the international workshops and residency programs in above member countires were part of the exhibition. These works refer to the art and the artists of the 90s Trend. While Sarath Kumarasiri, Pradeep Chandrasiri and Koralegedera Pushpakumara are closer to the initial nuances, visual representations and thematics of the 90s Trend , Anura Krishantha, Pala Pothupitiya and Thisath Thoradeniya represent the new generation of artists whose work have evolved to take the same trend as a point of departure. The latter belongs to the same generation of artists whose repertoire of visual language, the conceptual formulations and artist personas had the opportunity to negotiate and absorb globalized images, international art trends and art market possibilities in addition to the local cultural and political dynamics. The art of the 1990s emerged in the context of a chaotic and complex socio-political situation marked with a 20 year civil war, unplanned economic maneuvers, the resultant youth frustrations and violence. During the last decade and a half, as a reaction to such an environment, a socially engaging and politically vocal visual art practice with its own aesthetic vocabulary that broke all possible conventions in art making emerged in Sri Lanka, which is now popularly referred to as the 90s Trend. At present, nearly 18 years after the epistemic break initiated by the 90s Trend, one could see younger artists taking these established possibilities into other dimensions. What is seen now is this aesthetic vocabulary being developed into more subtle aesthetic formats by the younger artists discussing micro themes at a deeper level, investigating intimate and highly personal experiences. The last decade also saw many artists finding opportunities to explore art exchange situations and conduits to connect with international art communities. Globalization and its allure, IT technology and its advantages, and the high frequency of information access allowed artists to think beyond the local art community and locally specific art expressions. The six artists represented here have been part of the network of artists who have been advantaged by experiences of international art exchange and whose work reflect the changes of contemporary art trends from the 90s up to the present. Exhibition also included extensive information about the Network and its worksings. The visitors to the gallery were able to log into the member countries website and refer to many catalouges and documentation presented to get information on the international residency/ workshops and other event held by them.