Given the license to draw as a child, on the cement surfaces of the floor by a doting father who himself held a deep appreciation for art, Kolambage was an artist in the making since his tender years. Growing up he embraced opportunities to study further, learning from seasoned artists to finally graduate from the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Sri Lanka.
Vibrant hues in contrasting combinations are typical of Kolambage’s work and many of his paintings are imbued with messages, at times stirring and poignant in their meaning
He ventured into a career in advertising, a phase referred to as ‘Selling my soul’ in the book, ‘Devil’s Palette’ by Juliet Coombe, that chronicles his life as an artist. He rose to success in leading advertising firms, assuming roles of creative or art director not only in Sri Lanka but also in India and Australia. Simultaneously he indulged in his passion for painting winning recognition through competitions. From his days of education it was through water colour that Kolambage first found expression. Gradually he turned to oil on canvas as well as acrylic, producing many collections—in particular abstracts. His first solo exhibition dates back to 1961 and those that followed include ‘Some Poems I Have Read’, ‘Against War’, and ‘Buddharaja’ that colour the portfolio of his works. He has also exhibited his work in Japan, Bulgaria, India, London and Paris aside from commissioned work in various countries.
Through his abstracts, Kolambage endeavours to reach out to anyone with an appreciation for art
Vibrant hues in contrasting combinations are typical of Kolambage’s work and many of his paintings are imbued with messages, at times stirring and poignant in their meaning. Through his abstracts, Kolambage endeavours to reach out to anyone with an appreciation for art. Kolambage’s latest collection is born out of his love of temple art incorporating the graceful ‘liyawela’ motif using bold colours such as fiery reds. For abstract work Kolambage finds that acrylic serves him well. “Acrylic allows me to capture my vision as it dries quickly unlike painting with oil that requires layering and repetitive brush strokes,” he states.
His overwhelming portfolio, in essence, unfolds as myriad expressions of his artistic journey
Aside from painting Kolambage has shown his flair in various other forms of creativity. And the awards and accolads he has won in recognition extend beyond painting to include photography, pottery, logo design and stamp design. In particular his collection of pottery, sculpts modern renditions of the age-old art form where each piece possesses an innate aesthetic appeal.
His overwhelming portfolio, in essence, unfolds as myriad expressions of his artistic journey.