‘To me Art is Freedom and I Look for Absolute Freedom in Art” - Asela Abeywardene

 
Presently living in Dubai, Asela Abeywardene has been a professional artist for the past seven years. A sculptor and a potter, her fascination of the complexities of the human condition is a recurring motif in her work. To the viewer her work is exquisite and is a narrative of a deeper understanding, to Asela her art is about self expression: the outcome of her innermost thoughts and feelings. 

 
An introvert by nature her preference to live a quiet life has provided her the time and freedom to contemplate and create…
1. What is art to you?
To me art is life and life is art. It’s difficult to separate the two. I can’t think of a life without art. Everything that I perceive influences my art. Art to me is who I am. 
2. What was your childhood like?
My childhood was spent in Malabe which was at that time a village. I grew up with my parents, brother and grandfather in a house which was amidst foliage. My love for nature is rooted in that garden and surrounding environment. 
 
3. When did you start getting in to art and most importantly why?
I think I was into art from the time I was a toddler. Almost all of us are. We scribble because we want to express ourselves. I was always searching for beauty. I think I took it seriously when I was about 14 years. I started to draw and paint and write poetry all the time. It was purely for self expression and to capture beauty and harmony in some way.
4. What is your creative process like?
Usually I conceptualize something in my mind. An idea about a character in a story, historical figure, natural phenomena, etc. Then I do a rough sketch and take notes on the medium, technique, etc. Once I start I don’t try to stick to the initial thoughts. I let it evolve and take form with minimal control. I try to enjoy the process without much consideration of the outcome. The outcome is just a bonus. 
5. Any medium you particularly favour?
Clay. Especially ceramic clay.
6. Any particular style or technique or expression you prefer?
I like fragmentation and imperfection. But I don’t want to make that a life mission. I allow myself to change frequently. I don’t like to have a ‘signature’ style and become imprisoned in it. To me art is freedom and I look for absolute freedom in art.
7. How has your style changed over the years?
I started off with realistic, figurative depictions. Now they are much more fragmented. Not entirely abstract but somewhat. I still retain some amount of realism especially with figurative work. I think I have moved from total control to lesser control over the years.
8. What is the difference in your thought process when you are creating a sculpture vs. when you make pottery? 
Pottery too could be sculptural. I think all my pottery is sculptural. Working on the wheel is like meditation. Absolute focus is necessary and it’s a very addictive process. The artist has to take control over the wheel and in a way it’s a very technical procedure. Hand building is much more conceptual. The artist is in total control and has the power to express.
9. What is your favourite piece (from all your works)? 
I am very fond of ‘Anitya’ because it was my very first sculpture. Its creation was a learning curve. It was very challenging and I loved the process. Then again I think all my sculptures are self-expressions so they are very personal. It’s difficult to favour one over the other because each of them contains a certain aspect of who I am.
 
 
10. What is your perspective on life? And how does that affect your work?
I think my life is shaped by Buddhist philosophy. I don’t like to label myself as a Buddhist when it comes to religion. I prefer to have no religion. But the philosophy is a guiding factor and I derive strength and reason from it. My life and my work are affected by the spirituality which I find. 
11. What are your other interests besides art?
 Cinema, music, literature, culture... I love to watch all sorts of films from Super-hero to independent art films. I have to have music while I work on something and I’ve always loved books. 
 
12. What kinds of ideas and things are you working on at the moment?
The recent exhibition was an almost sold-out one. I would have to take some time to think and define a path for the next creations. I am looking for inspiration in cinema, literature, etc. It’s too soon after the exhibition to have a concrete plan. 
For further information you can view Asela’s work on www.aselaabeywardene.wordpress.com or contact her via email : asela_oshadhi@yahoo.com
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shazzana Hamid

An eternal student of life - Your everyday home cook - Will break in to a jig when necessary - Scintillating subject matter under the alias of S.A Hamid - Coffeeholic. Follow on Twitter - TheStartupCook or Instagram - the_startup_cook

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