Born and raised amidst a lot of hardship, Nihal was the last of a family of six kids. With the financial difficulties his family faced he often resorted to reading borrowed “chithrakatha” papers and tried to replicate the characters from the stories, although he had no formal education in art.
He will be launching his maiden exhibition “Axis Mundi” showcasing his work which gives definition of deities that has been predefined by history and society. The exhibition opens on November 2ndat the J D A Perera Gallery at 7pm and then open to the public on November 3rd to the 4th from 8:00am to 8:00pm.
As a child Nihal never knew much about his roots, beyond his own parents, and mainly attended school to escape the rough environment at home, but ended his school career during the JVP riots and without any direction he would follow. But he found employment far away from Colombo, his home town.
He drifted from one job to the other to make ends meet, again without much direction, and his passion for art drifted away eventually. But somehow the broken child in him eventually started haunting him, where he took art therapy as a healing exercise, and this is where he was encouraged to start painting again and start on writing.
It was there Nihal felt the need to acquire a formal education in fine arts, however he was already in his early 40’s which inherently discouraged him to enter an institution, but it was during this time he was introduced to Ms. Anoma Wijewardene and got the opportunity to study under her for a short period of time, and it was her passion that encouraged him to pursue what he loved most. And he continued with Anoma’s group of students participating in several group exhibitions. He also got to release his first ever short story publication “In the Corner of My Love Life” with Equal Ground Organization.
“While I was in the development stage of my paintings trying to figure out how to recreate my imagination, one of my greatest inspirations was Tarot Garden by Niki De Saint Phalle. I try not to follow too many rules or techniques or do any pre-planning itself and I just let the colour flow through to my paper and canvas and sometimes surprise myself with the final outcome”, Nimal adds.