Title: Exotic Sri Lanka
Artist: Raja Segar.
Dimensions: 21.3 x 28.3 / 54 x 72cm including 1" x 1" / 2.5 x 2.5cm white border. Limited editions of this poster, signed in acrylic on an enlarged lower white border are available on request.
Raja Segar was born an artist in Colombo in 1951. Hailing from a Hindu family of modest means, Segar self-tutored in the late 1960s and early 70s using the British Council’s library in central Colombo as his very own ”university of fine art”.
Prolific over the past four decades, versatile in that he is equally adept at oil and watercolour painting, line drawing and steel sculpting; cubist in style; radical yet compassionate in his depictions of Sri Lankan society ---- it could only ever have been Segar, the under-rated genius, who we approached to be our first Guest Artist.
In 1996, Segar’s wife Vejeyashanthinie died of brain stem cancer. She was just 29 years old. In the artists’ 19th solo exhibition held that same year he donated all sales proceeds to the Neurosurgery Trust Fund of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka. Since the late 1990s Segar has exhibited in major cities worldwide including London, Delhi, Singapore and Sydney. He will be featured in Art India magazine this Christmas.
At first glance Segar's paintings seem familiar, almost conventional. The cubism could be European while the vivid colours and pastoral scenes are quintessentially South Asian.
Yet on closer inspection you realise that what you are looking at is utterly unique. Segar paints Sri Lankan women like no other. He literally celebrates womanhood and exalts in the female form: long curving torsos with pinpointed belly buttons which, if one millimetre out of place, would ruin the whole painting. The eyes - sultry, pained, mournful, inviting men to a dangerous place. Segar’s art tells the observer that beneath all the complications, machismo jealousies and strict protocols of village life, women still reign and beauty can never be suppressed.