Thilak Samarawicrema
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PEOPLE OF CEYLON IN ANIMATED DESIGN
La Gente di Ceylon Disegni Animati

D.Trombodori
I’Unita martedi 3 gennaio, 1978 

ROME- Tilak Samarawickrema’s appearance on the cultural panorama of Rome has been a curious occasion and at the same time an interesting novelty, not only for the specialist. This young artist from Sri Lanka (Island of Ceylon) is exhibiting a collection of line drawings at the Gallery L’Obelisco. These designs form part of the material that the young Sri Lankan artist, who has been living in Italy for the past few years, has produced for the animated film, Àndarē of Sri Lanka, a folk tale from his country…
The film tells a very fresh tale, and the adaptation of the graphic sign to the spirit of the matter is managed with surprising skill. Besides speaking about the film, which is a valuable “opera prima”, we could talk at length about music, rhythm and mostly about the skillful playing and changing of forms through design. We want to make special mention of Tilak Samarawickrema’s work as a graphic artist. He draws an unbroken embroidery of curved lines that by themselves build the space, interlacing to sketch figures, bodies, movements: a bull, an eye, a smiling face, a dance-step, an ornament or a fan are defined by a continuous sign, thickening or slenderly bending, proceeding with parabolic rhythm in a rarefied atmosphere. The white space of the leaf is spherical and deeply musical. But the curiousness consists of the fact that the highly modern graphic lesson of Tilak, without sliding into folklore, becomes an extraordinary instrument to communicate some typical meanings and images of the traditional Singhalese culture. To understand these qualities you should keep your mind on the symbolic meaning of the Singhalese alphabet; a rhythmical, varied succession of roundish, bulging and very stylized signs; or on the very pictorial tradition which elaborates Buddhist iconography with sensual femininity or fertility images, as shown by the frescos at Sigiriya; or, on the deeply sweet flora and fauna of such a luxuriant country (the soft, bending tea-hills, the vast coconut and banana plantations, the calm backs of elephants and draught animals.)…
What has been described is a sufficient testimony of the cultural interest generated by the exhibition at the Obelisco. Overall the exhibition can be judged as an undoubtedly positive reflection on a young artist like Tilak Samarawickrema, who will have much more to say in our country.

   
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