MARU SANNIYA 01 – 2017, Ink and pencil on archival watercolor paper, 16.5 x 11.5 inches
Pala Pothupitiye, born in 1972, obtained his degree in Fine Arts at the Visual and Performance Art University in Colombo. Raised in a village of traditional southern Sri Lankan craft-artists and ritualists. His work incorporates and reinterprets the material and philosophical content of traditional art.
Pothupitiye confronts issues such as colonialism, nationalism, religious extremism and militarism, and extends his inquiry to questions of caste, the distinction between art and craft, tradition and modernity, as well as generating a critique of Euro-centrism. He works on government maps and old colonial maps, sometimes merging them to create new cartographies. Pala conceptually treats maps as two-dimensional surfaces, which he can use to bring attention to lived experiences of these inscribed spaces. These alternative cartographic exercises talk about memory and its erasure, identities and their discomfiture, the 30-year war Sri Lanka experienced and its postwar complexities.
In 2005, he was selected to participate in the third Fukuoka Trienniale at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan, and in 2010 he won the jury award of the Sovereign Art Asian Prize, Hong Kong. Recently Pala has been part of the Singapore Biennale 2016. Pala is also associated with the Teertha Collective.
At present, Pothupitiye is living and working at the Mullegama Art Center near Colombo where he runs his workshop and an art school, supporting younger artists and schoolchildren.
CHAVAKACHCHERI MAP – 2015, Government printed map, ink, pencil, japanese rice paper, 25.75 x 36 inches
IRANAMADU MAP – 2015, Government printe
HISTORIES AND PAST – 2017, Acrylic and ink on archival digital print, 30 x 96 inches