Sand artist fascinated by sand dunes of Dubai

Being an earthy person and very close to nature, Divani Srimali Chandrasena creates vivid forms with sand. Sand in its suppleness, delicacy and strength resonates with her

Sand artist fascinated by sand dunes of Dubai

Qazi M Raghib

Srilankan artist Divani Srimali Chandrasena lives in Dubai. The sand dunes of Dubai have been her canvas and have been instrumental in shaping her style as an artist.

She was appreciated and made a mark for her distinct style in the International sand art festival in Konark, india which she calls one of the most fascinating and satisfying residency experiences of her professional life. She made her first art piece when she was just 2 years old. Her father has still kept it with him. After that, there was no stopping her.

Nature has in its breadth and width has engrossed Divani Srimali , The fragrance of the beach, splashing of the waves, and energy of sunrays, stimulate her senses to capture moments associated with environment.

The word “form” includes her personal experiences beyond the apparent. It has been the cogent word underpinning the embodiment of her inherent themes. The themes ranging from perspectives to personalization.

Being an earthy person and very close to nature, she creates vivid forms in and with sand. Sand in its suppleness, delicacy and strength resonates with her. The willingness of sand to be transformed in form and texture and the liberty it gives in contrasting the depiction of the smooth and coarse, makes it a perfect medium for exploring the iconic meaning of realism.

Unlike the grains of sand, the sculptures eventually slips away and only a documented evidence remains engraved in our minds. The deep under carves is a reflection of one’s journey through life. We endeavor for perfection, we break down to piece, yet we collect ourselves and build our castles of magical dreams to reach the glorious skies.

She says "While compacting sand grains it loosens my chains of frustration and brings in the strong virtue of patience and calmness, which binds me to my passion and inspires me to create huge art forms associated with the ambient site specification. In as much as sand art is close to my heart, it has better still, not taken me away from all other existing popular art forms and media (marble, sand stone, and terracotta mural)."

She narrates her story, "Due to my insatiable desire for new experience, I found myself in Kajuri tribal village in India to deepen and widen my knowledge about indigenous art and culture. The days spent in Kajuri village with Dongria Kanda tribal women, made me share my interest in art non verbally since visual language was the only medium of inter personal communication. My Kajuri village experience was in two folds. I first, emptied myself of my culture to embrace their culture. I wore their traditional costumes and I had quite a time in adjusting to their food, toiletry and sanitary routines. This experience was still another milestone in my life. I learned about the special Dongria embroidery techniques and motifs of their decoration. Using their techniques and materials, I prepared large murals alongside the small stone vehicles for their children.”

Divani Srimali wishes to contribute to her culture, Sri Lankan culture in her own way. The sharing of contemporary art practices and the ideas she learns from a land far away from her country, would certainly enrich her land.

Divani Srimali is at present teaching visual art and conducting workshops in Gems Modern Academy on art forms such as sand art, stone carving, wood carving, painting, graphics and contemporary art in Dubai.

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