The Influence of Expressionism in Modern Sri Lankan Art

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The movement of Expressionism in art originated in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century and spread in Europe during the first two decades of the century. It reacted to the existing concept of art as an imitation of nature and promoted the idea that art is an expression of literary themes and of human emotions. As a result of our local artists emulating the developments in Europe this school of Expressionism too had an impact or the Sri Lankan Modern Painters. A number of Sri Lankan painters went to study art in European countries in the 1930-1940 s. It is those who studied in Germany that introduced Expressionism to Sri Lankan painting. I have given below some of the artists who were pioneers in this movement, Ivan Peris, Justin Peris Deraniyagala, George Classen. Prominent feature of the art of these artists is the use of modern techniques in their works which was not evident in traditional art before. These artists were called modern artists who used Expressionism as against the traditional academic arts. Expressionism in their view a cover form that included Impressionism, Cubism and Surrealism as well.
Although there are many artists who followed this techniques in their work in Sri Lanka, there is no in depth study done on the work during the period. Therefore the main focus of this study is to do systematic study on the aspects and influence made by the expressionism on their work making a detailed analysis of the structures, styles, area, of paintings of Sri Lankan painters and demonstrate the close relationship of their works to expressionist works arts of the Expressionism painters. I have used historical and comparative methods and based in the paintings of various artists of the said period.


Keywords: Sri Lanka, Expressionism, Modern art, Cubism, Impressionism, Germany, Ivan Peris, Justin Peris Deraniyagala, George Classen
Stream: Arts Theory and Criticism
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Parakrama Herath

Teacher, Department of Education, Ministry of Education
Kandy, Sri Lanka

I am Mr. P.B.Herath Permanent teacher, Aesthetics college of Fine Arts, Kandy, Sri Lanka. I have done my B.F.A. Degree in Fine Arts in 2001- 2005.In 1998-2001 did my Diploma in Education, National College of Education,Polgolla, Sri Lanka. I am academic and practical painter in Sri Lanka had participated group
exhibitions since 2007-2009.

Ref: A09P0812