CoCA Gallery



What is Art? What becomes a work of Art within the contemporary context?



Poornima Jayasinghe & Chinthaka Thenuwara created 14 interactive works of art inspired from the narrative by Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The focal point of the works exhibited is where the audience engages with the work of art, ‘plays’ the role of Alice thus the Art work play the wonderland. The tension of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland emerges when Alice’s fixed perspective of the world comes into contact with the mad, illogical world of Wonderland. Alice’s fixed sense of order clashes with the madness she finds in Wonderland. Likewise, the work of art challenges the audience perception and questions the state of Art and what is Art? What becomes a work of Art? According to the story Alice tries to understand her environment in terms of cause and action likewise, audience tries to understand the works in terms of cause and action.



CoCA Artists’ Poornima Jayasinghe & Chinthaka Thenuwara are the ‘firsts’ in Sri Lankan Art history to create a platform for diverse viewers in all forms of ages and background to freely interact with the work of art. It broke the boundary between the work of Art and the audience, creator and the viewer and shifts its focus of the viewer to the creator of the work.



‘Becoming Alice’ Interactive Work of Art by Poornima Jayasinghe & Chinthaka Thenuwara 

The Colombo Art Biennale 2012

"The imaginary is what tends to become real.” ― AndrĂ© Breton

"Come experience a bit of wonderland, unleash your soul and let your imagination run wild"!

Inspired by Alice's Adventures in the Wonderland, A novel written by Lewis Carroll, artists’ encourage the audience to seize the moment and enjoy the present as it is truly a ‘present’ in many ways than one. The giant working clock that reminds its patrons the value of time and living and enjoying the present moment.









                                                     Colombo Art Biennale 2012


     'Becoming' an interactive artwork by  Poornima Jayasinghe  & Chinthaka Thenuwara.

















‘Cage of Existence’



The Colombo Art biennale 2012



Poornima Jayasinghe and Chinthaka Thenuwara

A unique piece of conceptual and interactive work of art that enabled multiple artists’ to perform on an equal platform to convey a gamut of ideas and thoughts. The work of art questions the state of art, and what art is? The cage? The one in? The spectator? The state of the one caged? What forms are we to appreciate in terms of art? We would never know, until we free ourselves from our cage.








“Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s there on today’s TV show”



By Poornima Jayasighe and Chinthaka Thenuwara



Colombo Art Biennale 2012.

A Fun, interactive installation with live video projection questions the personnel identity, mass media and its impact on human nature.












‘Becoming Fortuna’ - An interactive work of art



by Chinthaka Thenuwara and Poornima Jayasinghe 



Colombo Art Biennale 2012

The experience of art is always active, consisting of the interplay of situation, perception, and the generation of meaning in the mind of its audience.

Inspired by the Twister, a very popular game that tests your physical skill and the Goddess Fortuna. This multi -functional work of art requires its patrons to be active participants in order to reach and witness the true potential of the piece. The work of art functions as a seat or a dance floor, and is in a constant state of evolving with or without the interaction by its audience.

Accompanying the Twister floor is the Wheel titled ‘Becoming Fortuna’ inspired by the goddess Fortuna. The Wheel depicts exactly as the one in the game Twister, according to the view of the artists its represents intercession’s of random chances into the Fool's path, unexpected encounters and twists of fate, never knowing ‘what’ is around the next corner. Our lives are in constant motion revolving around the ups and downs life hands us. No moment ever stays the same. Just as you are getting comfortable, resting on your laurels, the wheel turns and you are moving toward another situation, sometimes good, sometimes not. One has to remember The Wheel is certainly beyond one’s power, may seem stuck in one place however, eventually it does shift. The Wheel is the game of life – there are no guarantee, people feel they are in control of the wheel but in reality are blindsided and under the false notion, but the irony lies in the fact that the final destination of the wheel is beyond the spinner’s control.

As the game gets harder to play, it becomes obvious that people are always confused as to where they are meant to be keeping their feet and hands. It is a tedious task and is a true test of physical agility. Amidst the spinning of the wheel and while the participants struggle, a person on a high chair takes Arial photographs: re-iterating the fact the participants are in an uncomfortable position tangle with each other in an animal like position. Depicting man as an animal like being, dancing to whims and fancy of the wheel while there is a higher order looking at the mere mortals below and having a good laugh.

This is an evolving art piece which will take different forms in future according to the interaction and its functionality. Breaking the boundaries of the traditional art spaces, in future this extremely fun, interactive, multifunctional art work will be used and viewed at parties, nightclubs and many social events.

















‘Becoming Picture Perfect and Complete: Fix the Jigsaw’



By Poornima Jayasinghe and Chinthaka Thenuwara



Colombo Art Biennale 2012


An extremely interactive work of art, which is not complete until public make them so with their presence. It is easy to use and patronize and may seem extremely light and colorful on the outset, but rooted with deep meaning and is conceptually powerful. The public is instructed to fix the piece of the jigsaw and left unaware about the crucial characteristic of the jigsaw: it can never be fitted: just like the individual who tries hard to change to fit in to society or expected structures that struggles with an identity crisis.









P Zombie -A Sonnet

Chinthaka Thenuwara and Poornima Jayasinghe


The mobile sculpture blended with technology enables movements and interactivity. The mobile sculptures will move freely with sound under the 10 feet tall chair on which the public is invited to sit.

The sculptures bump into each other and move around the area without a proper direction. These sculptures act like mindless Zombies. The silhouettes on the mobile sculptures depict various life situations. In today’s world, most of the people are like mindless zombies or can be called as philosophical zombies. A philosophical zombie or p-zombie in the philosophy of mind and perception is a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from a normal human being except in that it lacks conscious.

However, the social, political, cultural and religious authorities are more responsible for creating the nation to act like philosophical zombies. The high chair invites its patrons to sit and gaze at a different direction doing nothing and be the higher order, the role model that everyone yearns to be like











‘Counter Balance’



By Chinthaka Thenuwara and Poornima Jayasinghe

On our daily life, our survival requires counter balance. The need to balance our spiritual, social and material life connecting with others. Many aspects are needed to balance the uncertain scales of life that we cannot disappear on and ending in a state of total indecision












‘Patterns of Distortions’ 



Colombo Art biennale 2014

Medium: 3D Interactive Sculpture (Metal, Rubber and Plastic) Size: L60”x W26”x H6Year of execution: 2014


The work of art is created by using a stationary bicycle, a kaleidoscope which will operate with the peddling and use of the bicycle allowing the audience to interact with the art work.

As an avid cyclist Artist, Chinthaka Thenuwara sees a lot of changes going around his daily cycling routes. Most of the time he sees structures created to destroy and destroyed to create. Historical monuments, buildings, landscape and roads are changing its original form, identity, functionality or completely disappear due to time, social, political and cultural changes. His memory line is constrained and confined by these landmarks. These momentous sights are refreshed, reinterpreted and re-narrated throughout the history. This construction and reconstruction possibilities make history and keep changing and re shaping his memories. Symbolically using the important landmarks in his cycling route, and the ongoing construction process, on moving screen with video/ photographs, he shares his experience with the audience. He experiences these changes as an imaginative reconstruction, or construction, built out of the relation of our attitude towards a whole active mass of past history. Either in visualized or abstracted form, one of the largest complications of memorializing our past is the inevitable fact that it is absent. Every memory we try to reproduce becomes – as Terdiman states – a 'present past'. It is this impractical desire for recalling what is gone forever that brings to surface a feeling of nostalgia, noticeable in many aspects of daily life I experience when cycling. For me these changes that occur at the process of making history are like looking through a kaleidoscope. You look at a set of elements, the same ones everyone else sees, but then reassemble those floating bits and pieces into an enticing new fantasy. Every instant a change takes place, new harmonies, new contrasts and new combinations of every sort appear. The most familiar people stand each moment in some new relation to each other, to their work, to surrounding objects. He shares his experience with the audience fitting the kaleidoscope to his cycle. Audience needs to get on to the cycle, sit and peddle for the Kaleidoscope to function. In this nature he shares with the audience the experience he gather of “Making history” while cycling.















‘Acts, Results, and Consequences’



Colombo Art Biennale 2014

Our lives are in constant motion revolving around the ups and downs of history. No moment ever stays the same. Just as we get comfortable or uneasy, we move toward another situation. At this process making history becomes a constant varying cycle. It’s become a natural sequence of acts, results, and consequences.

The interactive art work requires its patrons to be active participants in order to reach and witness the true potential of the piece.












‘Gray scales’



Colombo Art Biennale 2014 – By Chinthaka Thenuwara

Year of Execution: 2014

At the process of making history fixations first appear in Black and white, later their true colors come out. It’s neither black nor white.














Colombo Scope 2015 "Shadow Sense"

Title: Patterns of Distortions II

By Chinthaka Thenuwara


By observing the social landscape of slave island and the skeletal framework of the Rio complex as interrelated environments. In treating the exhibition site as temporary monument, the artist conceives an organic architecture using discarded and re-assembled materials from around the building and its neighborhood. In this taxonomy of matter, we are made conscious of active urban processes as well as a the transition of a historical backdrop restored as a fantasy plot.

Medium: Site responsive installation and performance courtesy of the artist (wood, ceramic, plastic, metal, cardboard and paper)
Size: Site specific
Year of execution: 2015














Vijayanagar Residency India 2014


by Chinthaka Thenuwara




Interactive metal sculpture depicting the lives of the people and the JSW steel manufacturing company. The sculpture was built with the involvement of the JSW vacation training center(welding department) 
students.



















Colombo Art Biennale 2014 : “Making History”



“Making History” A Process

We, remember history through personal background or as a shared view of the public. We, in very personal context or as a collective memorize, revive, retranslate and present history as an emotional experience. Each individual is a creator and a storyteller of history.

As passionate traveler, I have taken photographs of the abandoned shoes from diverse locations belonging to all walks of life. For me, shoes are very symbolical. Shoes are use in different moments and events by diverse people. History is a selective process- it chooses moments and events, and even people. These abandoned shoes are like records of past history of events, moments, cultures or a personal histories of and individuals

Exhibiting individual photographs as a whole create a puzzle. A Puzzle is like a big picture made from little incoherent pieces. Looking into photographs allows the audience the possibility to create and interpret the historical facts recorded through it. According to each individual social, cultural, historical and political background they will read, identify and understand the photographs differently. At this process each individual is a creator and a storyteller of History.

Exhibiting the photographs on the ground, allows people to walk over the photographs along the trail of the past. They leave new footprints on the record of past history. The audience consciously or unconsciously revisits, remodels, changes and erases its scenes; revive its echoes, of former days.

Projecting the live actions of the audience to existing art work on the ground represents an individual or a collective how we memorialize, re interpret and recount the history by the reflection of memory. The interaction with the art work makes the experience seem dense, multi-layered, complex, mesmerizing, and convincing to each seemingly-individual mind. The audience, who are living historians, freely interferes with this transition. The audience acts as an interpreter, assembler or the presenter of the past history.




















‘Towards a bright future’



[Suba Anagathayak] 

Medium – Digital Photography, Sound Track, Toilet Paper Rolls, Mop, Bucket, Digital Print, Air Freshener

For many of us, history represents a search for meaning in life attempting to make sense of one’s life by treating the past as the key determinant of our contemporary experience. In many situations we present conflict of trauma which we undergo as a result of past suffering. Increasingly, personal meanings can be achieved by each individual through engaging with the rights and wrongs of the past. And in the process, history becomes customized as an instrument of individual therapy. As individuals, we wish we could attempt to cleanse what we tend to identify as dreadful memoirs of our personal, social, political and cultural history.

Symbolically using a commode, toilet paper rolls, air freshener, a mop - I depict how as an individual we treat the past and how we use the above items, to relieve ourselves from our contemporary issues.

We consciously or unconsciously in a fatalistic fashion are increasingly comfortable to interpret all of our current problems as the inevitable outcomes of past events, presenting ourselves as traumatized victims who wait to revitalize from unpleasant past.

Along with the display of the digital art work, fusing sounds of a flushing commode, a voice of meditation instruction as a background sound, thus creating an awareness to the audience leading them to come into terms with past, that can be experienced as a healing process, a meditation. At this process making history can be identify as a therapy.

Colombo Art Biennale 2014

































‘Fabric of Pettah’

Chinthaka Thenuwara, Layla Gonaduwa, Lakisha Fernando, Poornima Jayasinghe 2013

Pettah (Known as Fort) is where we still see the handcart that has remained for generations without changing. Using the handcart as a canvas artists’ highlight the diversity and the unity of Pettah. The different types of colored and patterned fabrics represent the diverse ethnicities and religions communities in Pettah. Creating a web like pattern in and out of the handcart represents how diverse people interact, adjust, adapt, evolve and survive within the fabric of Pettah.

This interactive installation allows the audience to write what Pettah means to them through patterns. Every passing day Pettah is changing and evolving and recording people’s thoughts about present Pettah will provide a backdrop for CoCA artists for the second phase of Pettah project.




‘Vibes of Pettah’ - By Chinthaka Thenuwara


Walking down the hustle bustle streets of Pettah shows the energy and vibes of diverse range of people. The diversity always brings life to Pettah. Chinthaka highlights the Life force energy of Pettah through his functional and interactive work of art.


    



‘The Story Boxes’

Including imagery [stickers] from popular culture of Pettah which are widely used to decorate Tuk Tuk, Lorries, and Buses, the artists highlight the culture of Pettah. The Pettah is a multicultural, multi ethnic city. These images are used by the diverse ethnic and cultural communities in Pettah and images represent their fantasies, desires, realties, social norms and life styles.

Culture is transmitted through language, therefore, being able to read the texts on the artwork participants will have a deeper understanding of the nature of Pettah. The others who are unable to read will experience the flavor of Pettah through visuals.

The art can function as a bench and will be replaced in its original landscape Pettah. Being seated on the art work will encourage a dialogue, and it will be a backdrop for an individual to broaden his or her horizon. People will exchange ideas, will be able to tolerate, change, develop and adapt just like the way the City of Pettah functions.

CoCA Exhibition OMG Pettah 2013 [ CMC building Pettah ]

Multifunctional interactive art work by Chinthaka Thenuwara and Poornima Jayasinghe







A moveable feast to record the fast disappearing scenes of Pettah. A door hinge symbolises an entry to a world that is accepting and tolerant. The food, a unifier across cultures and boundaries. To share a table with a stranger is a bold terrifying step at first, to most of us. And that is Pettah. A place that transforms you back to reality, back to humanity. Black, Florescent, graffiti & line work is used to capture the sheer vibrancy, gumption, terror & chaos, I have encountered. This is to freeze my memory, snapshots of Pettah and it's people.


‘Heart + Brain = Pettah’ 



The Multifunctional, Interactive Art Work with Sound Installation



By Poornima Jayasinghe and Chinthaka Thenuwara

The heart is full of things which we will die for and our brain is full of things we live by. Pettah is a place where people deal with their hearts and brains for survival. Pettah is almost like a playground which is consistently evolving, changing and adapting according to life situations.


  







‘Game Play’I



The Multifunctional and Interactive Art work 



By PoornimaJayasinghe and ChinthakaThenuwara

This work of art is drawn using a single continued line that creates drawn faces on a pattern similar to a checkerboard and a fishing hook on an interactive multifunctional art work which could be dismantle. Using the pattern of the checker board participants can play checkers. The game of checkers encourages over powering using strategic moves similar to how Pettha function when dealing with transactions. The work of art is connected together creating a table, symbolically showing ‘a table’ often used an object when dealing with business. Pettha perform as a collective of diverse range of people - among the many transactions that happen which could make or break a deal..









‘Game Play’ II

The interactive work of art can be fragment into different parts and by connecting it brings the art work together which creates a form of a table. People often use a table for deals and transactions in the business field. The commercial city, Pettah is built by people desires and dreams. A newcomer to Pettah can get lost in the city within his or her feelings, thoughts and needs. Pettah is like a maze through time and experience people finds their way to be in or out.

by Poornima Jayasinghe and Chinthaka Thenuwara






OMG Pettah by Poornima Jayasinghe [2013 Pettah]

At the Commercial hub of Sri Lanka Pettah, handcart remains for generations without changing. The goods carry by the carts has change according to the time, social, cultural, historical, economical and political changers. Though, the objects carried by the cart change, the contents represent the nation’s needs, desires, and dreams.  The results of these fantasies and realities will follow us like the cartwheel that follows the footsteps of the person who pulls it. Pettah is a cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, relations and roles. Under the shadow of the handcart is the story of growing impact of consumerism on human conditions. The changes of the human conditions effect knowledge, values, beliefs, social norms, attitudes and every aspects of culture. 






FOR SALE 

POORNIMA JAYASINGHE 

02.12.14 - 02.01.15


Pettah is the largest commercial hub in Sri Lanka. Located in Colombo, an array of consumers, goods and traders are connected in a rapidly changing environment filled with a wide gamut of characters and social backgrounds. Over the course of two years I have visited Pettah for various art projects. My resultant artwork discusses, first and foremost, the lives of the people whom I have engaged with. The focus of these works was their personal stories: their desires, sorrows, frustrations, aggressions, joys and dreams. During this point of my research the act of marketing and selling was not a subject I considered. I am now contemplating the act of selling through my decision to place a commercial 
value on the works that represent the lives of these people. In this exhibition, aptly titled 'For Sale‘, I approach the ethical considerations of selling my art and the question of what I am selling. Contemporary art in Sri Lanka is often dominated by the subjects of violence, displacement, cultural taboos, post colonialism, gender issues, women‘s rights and humans rights in relation to the 
artists outlook and/or opinion. The interest of the international community in such works is often easier to obtain on a global level and in a negative way this response can influence the art practice itself. Artists frequently mass produce works based on this assumption and while there are positive social aspects of these representations this is also a way of opening doors to international art 
markets. This process of supply and demand is not unlike the trading in Pettah. The increase in supply of both high and low quality products in order to exploit one particular demand and thereby make profit is directly comparable to the art market. Intentionally or unintentionally, we are marketing and selling the human conditions, frustrations, and aggression of others and ourselves. Can we escape this? The moment an artwork receives a price tag, there is no escape from associating art with financial gain. In this exhibition, the subject matter captures the struggles and dreams of the people in Pettah from personal, political, social and cultural angles. All this is represented with strong visuals to elicit intensified emotions and attract the collector to the work. As in Pettah, artworks are sold by kilograms; the actual weight of each work is measured by weighing them. Certain psychological states, cognitive, emotional and motivational—are activated when it comes to buying a product. In this exhibition, you can mix and match several works as you wish, to create the composite work customized to your taste or personality . When you purchase an artwork you are in fact purchasing the representation of lives of people in Pettah. From one perspective you are buying into the exoticism and from another you involved in the trading of human struggle. Through this purchasing process the collector becomes a part of my concept and completes the representation I aim to make. The collector becomes a part of the exhibition and trades oneself, thereby representing my personal struggle with the commercial nature now associated with my artwork. My integrity as an artist is also 'for sale‘. 

Poornima Jayasinghe November 2014













Intervention - "Shadow Scenes" colomboscope 2015


Within the current matrix Art objects, events or exhibitions just don‘t appear the way Lotus
flower comes out of mud. Art making and marketing has become a set of networks andpower relationships between the idea of making art objects, its interpretations and
executions.Within the political, cultural and social environment in which Art making and marketing is develops‘ art acts as a commodity, advertising, fashion and tourism industry . Throughout the history this has become a repeated organized pattern and a global system. My action is to create a dialogue with the entities that involve with this power relation network. A way to overcome, or come into the senses of the power relationships within Art making and marketing. The commentaries collected from close observations of the individuals and collectives who have consciously or unconsciously connected to the network and pasting the commentaries closer to the art work, on the art work and on walls challenges the marketing value of the art object or even the artist, and the event. By doing so creates a relational dialogue in terms of what the situation presents. The situation gives you a vocabulary to think, adopt or not to adapt or move into a situation as a result of the engagement and interaction. This is not simply a representation of thoughts but a production of thoughts. A Production of thought creates a performance among individuals and groups. Is this performance is another continuation of the repeated pattern of the power, control, authorities which are enforce us within the current social, political and cultural structures?










 Intervention - "Voice of the Poeple" by Chinthaka Thenuwara 2015

when voicing out anything is not heard or seen, miniature visual graphic print on sticker which is an ongoing project.
















‘24 Hours with a Wise Man’



By Poornima Jayasinghe , Beyond Perception 2013

It is true to say the social media trains the humans for consumption. ‘Mass media can create a sensation which makes the spectator seem to experience a non-existent reality. Like higher primates, humans are social by nature. Homo sapiens (Latin: ‘wise man’) are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, exchange of ideas, and organization.

We have put our trust on the media as an authority to give us news, entertainment and education. However, individuals can become irrational victims of mass media which can create false needs and believes. In doing so we lose our individuality, worried about our future and in a fit to do so we forget enjoying our present.



























'Not any Wall, Not any Bench'

Public Art, or Taking Art to the Public is a concept CoCA [Collective of Contemporary Artists] is keenly working on. The aim of CoCA is to make Art accessible, thought provoking, influential and impacting to the public, in an effortless everyday situation.
‘Not any Wall not any Bench’ is a fun interactive art work created by five Artists Layla Gonaduwa, Chinthaka Thenuwara, Poornima Jayasinghe, Branka Ridicky and Lakisha Fernando as a treat for the public. The work is a unique collaboration between professional local and international mixed cultural contemporary visual artists.
Carefully formulated functional installations help the growth of an individual in many ways. It is perceptual, intellectual, emotional, and aesthetically pleasing.
The unique master piece is currently installed At the BMICH [The Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall] Sri Lanka. The work is founded by the Alliance Francaise de kotte. French Spring Festival, scheduled between 21st of July to 29th of July 2013 provides the platform for CoCA Artists to exhibit their Public Art work.
The art work on the wall creates an illusion which represents the change & movement, our individuality or differences merging into whole. The colorful bench symbolizes the co- existence of unique individuals. Sitting together also encourages social, religious and ethnic harmony. It encourages dialog. It encourages openness and acceptance. It is a backdrop and a place for greater tolerance, greater debate, creativity and mindset of our people.
The Art work is the stepping stone for the CoCA ‘Nomads’ ongoing traveling project initiated by the committee members of the CoCA to explore how cultural traditions interact in diverse locations in Sri Lanka.
The next event of the project will be held at the CMC building Pettah on the 8th ,9th and 10th  of August 2013. Which is found by the Goethe-Institut – (The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach).
Future projects will expand to the divers’ locations in Sri Lanka such as Jaffna, Galle fort, Cultural triangle, and the indigenous village Dhabana









'Chaos' - An interactive art work by Chinthaka Thenuwara

Beyond Perception 2013 

.'Beyond Perception' conceptual photography exhibition by Chinthaka Thenuwara and


 Poornima Jayasinghe does not exist only to entertain, but also to challenge one to think, to

 provoke, even to alarm, in a constant search for truth



Sponsored by Epson  de budge and canon metropolitan 
Official media partner – ARTRA 



'In and out from silence' - An interactive art work


by Chinthaka Thenuwara and Poornima Jayasinghe 

Beyond Perception 2013 



'Identity' - by Chinthaka Thenuwara and Poornima Jayasinghe

Beyond Perception 2013 




 'Consumption and identity'

An interactive art work by Chinthaka Thenuwara and Poornima Jayasinghe 

'Fame'  - An interactive art work

by Poornima Jayasinghe and Chinthaka Thenuwara




'LIMBO' by Chinthaka Thenuwara 
  
An interactive art work

'Beyond Perception' conceptual photography exhibition 2013     







'DREAM' 

An intercative art work by Chinthaka Thenuwara
            


'Beyond Perception'  conceptual photography exhibition 2013  




‘War Shrine’ -2011 


“The war is fought internally as well as externally,

it is a cycle, no beginning no end.”

Poornima Jayasinghe and Chinthaka Thenuwara

Public participatory interactive art work 2011, Goethe institute, Colombo , Sri Lanka

Medium – Photography, Sound Track , Essence Sticks, Oil Lamp , Flowers, Pistol




NOMAD FILM by  Daniel Ridicki 
https://vimeo.com/16177634

http://www.danielridicki.com



'Flower Power' by Deneth Piumakshi  










“DENETH” clothes are unique and made for the modern day global nomads, at home in all cultures, comfortable with all people and all level of society, without prejudice, meditative, philosophical and spiritual, but also laid back and easy- going