Kavan and I got to know each other when we were schooling here in Colombo prior to those ever so important angst teen years. Since I’ve known him he’s always been drawn towards making art. He studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London; after completing a Foundation course in Art & Design he moved onto the Fine Art Bachelor’s degree at CSM’s then new campus in Granary Square, Kings Cross. Here he shares his thoughts with me on his move back to Sri Lanka, his collection of silkscreen prints (one of which is hanging at Café Kumbuk) and the growing arts scene in Sri Lanka.
1) As long as I’ve known you I don’t think I have ever really asked you you’re your artistic journey really began? When did you actively start putting pen/pencil/paint to paper?
I've been scrawling all over the walls of my house ever since I could. Being an artist is an answer I have always given as I've grown up. It is a bit weird, considering I didn't leave much room for anything else.
2) Cheers for contributing one of your silkscreen prints to the café wall Kavan! It totally fits the space. What was your inspiration for this particular collection?
The collection of silkscreen prints contributed to the cafe is titled as Contact. It's about the physical process of creating colour combinations on the paper surface. Each resultant layer, although premeditated, has an element of unpredictability to it. I attribute feelings evoked in the Contact series as akin to the physiological experience of another person, be it simply to brush past the arm of another, or to wholly realise them. To interpret those moments and present them as a memory. The first print matched the colour palette of the cafe.
3) When we were graduating from London and figuring out our next moves I remember you were debating whether to move to Berlin or not. What was it that made you move back to Colombo?
I felt the need to change my circumstance and live in the space and difference of opportunity that a place like Colombo - home - could provide. It's been quite fruitful being here and I am happy to have made that decision. But I think it's good to keep on the move. Considering it again. It's also been interesting to use this time as a chance to try different things by putting certain content out there that has been made in different places, to observe and consider reception and build upon that.
4) Yeah I think keeping things on the move allows you to become re-inspired – which is a beautiful thing. How do you observe the Sri Lankan fine art scene? Is there a lot of new talent coming through?
Contemporary art in Sri Lanka has been growing at a steady rate with many young practitioners speaking about a range of relevant topics through different styles and mediums. Most of the upcoming talent are young voices who have a lot of say, and it's good to note the players on the main stage are doing all they can to help bring about progressive change.
5) What are you currently working on?
I'm trying to diversify my practice, so I'm experimenting with graphic and fine arts.
Can’t wait to see what you come out with next!
If you’re interested in seeing more of Kavan’s work then follow his Instagram handle @studio.bala