Art @ Mount Havana

Exploring the Rich Tapestry of Gampola's Artistic Legacy

The paintings that decorate the walls of Mount Havana are colored by Gampola’s rich artistic, social and cultural histories. Despite the difficulty in locating the exact ruling periods of Kandy and Gampola, the latter has quite a rich, yet untold history of its own. The kingdoms were powerful ones, especially as a result of their defense strategy, strengthened by its geographical positioning, well-guarded by the river Mahaweli. One of the main characteristics about the Kandyan paintings was its adherence to two- dimensional art and the predominant use of the colors: black, white, green, blue and red.

The paintings comprise a mixture of the renowned historic sites such as Ambekka, Gadaladeniya, Dhodanwala Shrine off Pilamathalawa etc and also the less famous Bak-Mee Tree. One of the main strokes the artist, Channa Ekanayake wanted to capture was the whole canvas, painted both by the well- known and untold stories.

The canvases at Mount Havana include the Sooriyagoda and GadaladenIya temples and Ambekke Shrine off Pilimathalawa; Bak-Mee Tree in Subadraramaya Temple near Balapitiya, Galle; Gane Viharaya, Ganegoda Shrine in the Southern Province and the Dambulla Temple.

The artist, Channa Ekanayake believes that the subtly of Kandyan art was filled with natural colors derived from the earth and trees and highly stylized and decorated with motifs.

About the Artist

The paintings of Channa Ekanayake are multi-faceted. Having always felt one with nature, he studied Botany and natural sciences in detail. An ardent traveler, Channa was on a mission to reforest lost trees in public places and was able to identify trees with a single glance, as a result of his keen interest in the field. As devoted animal lover, Channa practices ‘Maithri’ and is an advocate in equality for all.

Having always painted as a hobby, Channa began pursuing art as a profession in the early 90s. His first major exhibition 'Dwellings', was held in 2001 consisted of meticulously detailed doors, windows and places of abode. Channa believes that his artistry does not remain static and constantly evolves and changes over the years. He uses oil and acrylic on canvas and watercolor and soft pastel on paper, and is an enthusiast of minimalist paintings.

His passion for nature has enabled him to draw slight details of trees, landscapes, animals etc. Channa also overlooks the wildlife, flora, fauna and greening practices in the estate.