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Senaka Senanayake at Grosvenor Gallery

Lorakeets, 2014, 152 x 152cm. (59 x 59in.)

Exhibition preview

FROM June 19 to July 11, 2014, Grosvenor Gallery is presenting an exhibition featuring works by Sri Lanka’s pre-eminent artist Senaka Senanayake (b.1951).

Senanayake achieved early fame as a child prodigy, whose work was first exhibited in Colombo in the late 1950s. He then held his first international one man show in New York at the age of ten. He continued to paint and as a teenager held numerous exhibitions in Sri Lanka as well as Europe, the USA and Asia.

It was after he received formal training at Yale University, where he studied Art and Architecture, that he decided to dedicate his life to painting. After graduating he moved back to Sri Lanka, where he has since established himself as one of the region’s most important living artists.

His recent work is inspired by the plight of the Sri Lankan rainforests, many of which have been subject to intense deforestation to make way for tea-plantations. Senanayake comments: “My main focus is on the endangered flora and fauna in our rainforests. In 2005 I visited a rainforest in Sri Lanka, which had became my muse for many of my shows”.

Visiting the artist’s house in Colombo it is easy to see from where Senanayake draws inspiration for his wonderfully vibrant canvases. His studio is next to the house in which he grew up, and is surrounded by a lush tropical garden, full of exotic plants which attract colourful birds and iridescent insects.

When discussing his work the artist sayss: “I could have shown the negative aspects of destruction, such as people and animals dying, but I try to do happy, positive paintings.”

One of Senanayake’s objectives is to establish a connection with everyone who encounters his work. “Many times, people walk by a piece of art and don’t respond… I want my paintings to talk. Everyone from a street sweeper to a university professor should be able to relate to my art.”

Each of his canvases takes between 2 – 3 weeks to complete. Layer upon layer of paint is added, creating an incredible depth to the colours and imparting a rich feel to the works which appear to have an almost luminescent quality to them.

The artist’s last show in London was in 1980, at the Upper Grosvenor Gallery. Since then he has held successful exhibitions around the world, most recently in India.

Gallery Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am – 5:30pm; Saturdays (by appointment only) 12 – 4pm; Sundays closed.

Grosvenor Gallery, 21 Ryder Street, London, SW1Y 6PX

Tel: +44 (0)20 7484 7979


From May 8 to May 30, 2014, Grosvenor Gallery is hosting an exhibition of new paintings by the acclaimed Indian artist TV Santhosh.