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“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” Such is the wisdom imparted by world renowned scientist Albert Einstein. This has been the modus operandi of City School of Architecture for over two decades as it passed on the wealth that is creativity to the aspiring architects of Sri Lanka.
The young minds of CSA have ‘wowed’ the Sri Lankan community with their awe inducing creativity on numerous occasions. Recently, the graduates of the prestigious architecture school delivered the expected wonder on a grand platform.
The Beach Sculpture-Dream competition hosted by Port City Colombo hoped to entice the hidden creativity of the Sri Lankan youth to blossom and capture a snippet of what the future can expect. The beach is usually associated with fond memories; a place that one retreats to create that balance in modern-day-living, which allows everyone to peel away the stress and enjoy a relaxing family time gazing at the setting sun.
Setting the theme of the beach competition as “Dream” is symbolic, as beaches are usually considered as the ideal embodiment of a “dream-like “sensation that Port City Colombo is best known for. It gives a sense of freedom, belonging, and space where you can truly be yourself in an advancing world. The sculpture submitted for the competition was expected to capture the essence of this sensation.
The competition launched on 29th July 2020 and the doors were open for submissions until the 25th August 2020. Then the entries were meticulously evaluated by a jury panel which comprised of several notable figureheads such as Artist Anoma Wijewardena, Architect Ruchi Jeyanathan, Textile designer Shilanthi Abeygunawardhana and Xia Yuang, Associate Director/Landscape Designer of Atkins a multinational Design and Engineering Consultancy.
Among the top 3 finalists revealed on the 9th of September 2020 included the entry submitted by the team of designers Tharindu Perera, Viranga Waduge and ARTRA Canvas artist Pulasthi Handunge who represented the City School of Architecture.
The students were placed under the mentorship of Ismael Abedin Ingelmo, founder of DXMID, an international Interior design and Sustainability consultancy for a period of one month.
The sculpture in question is based on the notion that “the only constant in life is change itself”. This was the thought process of Greek philosopher Heraclitus. This means that change is slow, and it gives a false interpretation that change is non-existent; while it is a constant ongoing process. The students cited the venture of King Vijaya as an example; at first, the Sri Lankan natives showed reluctance to accept the change brought by the new king, but in time these changes were subtly integrated into the culture of the future generations.
Likewise, the objective of the sculpture is to create a link between the past, present and the future thus creating a dream like experience; leaving room for ever-lasting change and a multitude of contrasting interpretations according to the viewer’s perspective.
The base material used in the sculpture is copper. Reminiscent of the copper colored beaches of Ceylon that earned its name ‘Thambapanni’. This makes it a monolithic construction. The “Lodiya” sculpture as dubbed by the students is subjected to change on a daily basis. Its movement can alter considering various factors like the movement of the wind. However, the accumulated change that is expected over time is the discoloration of the surface as it gets plastered with patina which formulates on the surface of copper. This symbolizes the cycle of aging over time as it eventually becomes one with the environment.
The silver orb hung on the center keeps the sculpture’s form and shape; thus maintaining balance. Viewing this brand new sculpture in the distant future, one might be able to see the aspects which have changed, and realize what have remained constant. This will create a link between the past and the future whilst bringing in a sense of nostalgia for someone who was present to witness the creation of the sculpture.
It was only a matter of time till this entry earned them the honor of being recognized as the victors of the competition. As the depth of their triumph kicked in, the winning members shared their roar of victory as follows.
“Being a student and having the opportunity to call such a landmark design our own is a huge achievement for us all. Especially when it’s the first public art installation in such an illustrious location. The whole series of workshops conducted by Ismael and the rest of the team was a wonderful exposure for us as students and will help to enrich our career.”
“For me it’s an achievement of a lifetime. I have been creating assembled art for a while now so this was a great opportunity to showcase our work. It was also a great team effort as we each contributed in our own ways and we came this far because of the strengths of each team member. Winning this makes us want to keep doing more art and share it with the world”.
The final presentation was graced with the presence of world renowned engineer Cecil Balmond. With such influence and inspiration accumulated along with yet another glorious triumph, the creative young minds of City School of Architecture can set their target on their bright and prosperous future endeavors.