IR : V.P.Vasuhan, could you first introduce yourself to our visitors ?
VPV : My name is V.P.Vasuhan, I was born and brought up in Alaveddy North, and grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka. I lived in Cyprus (Nicosia, Ayia napa, Larnaca) and then I moved to France (Paris).
I am the eldest child and have two sisters Sathyabama and Niththila. My father’s name is Mr.Velupillai Poopalasingham, and my mother Thevhi.
I studied at Mahajena College, Thelipalai - Colombo Hindu College, Sri Lanka, and I finished my studies in the Center of Higher Studies (Casa college) , Nicosia , Cyprus.
I have always participated in art events and exhibitions throughout my studies. My first show on large canvas, was in 1997 - at the Melina Mercuri Hall, Nicosia, Cyprus, with five Cypriot and one British artists. I also worked as an Assistant for my art teacher Mr.Glyn Hughes. My first Solo exhibition was in 2004 - Bayadere, Paris, France.
I am still on my path with colours...
IR : Being a young boy, did you already feel you would become an artist ? When did you begin to paint ?
VPV : I am currently involved in many different artistic experiences; acting, photography, music (DJ), dance and poetry, but these all came as later experiences, whereas I have always painted. Since I was a small child, I have always been interested in painting, especially in colour. Even now, if I sometimes forget drawing and colour, they won’t let me forget them. As soon as I was attracted to colours, I felt that I had to draw, I started with my father, Mr. V. Poopalasingham, who also bought me good materials to start with. I continued at kindergarten with Mrs. Indra, then at the Mahajana College, with my first art teacher Thiyagaraja Master, and later in Colombo at the Hindu College with my art teachers Lalitha Nadaraja and Mr. Thayabaran. Under their guidance, I participated in all art exhibitions and events organised during my school years. I continued my higher studies in Cyprus, where I fortunately met Mr Glyn Hughes, with whom I took part in my first group exhibition in November 1997. Working with him made me feel like an artist for the first time, even though I was quite scared about being an artist at first. I held my first solo exhibition in Paris, in June 2004, the second one in the same year, and since then I have held one show every year with new material. I am still continuing today.
My friends started calling me an artist, I didn’t really feel like an artist at first, but I liked showing my work to my friends, and now I feel that I can call myself an artist, even if I still need to keep on working. Time will give me the answer whether I am truly an artist.
IR : Did you have training, did you take lessons ?
VPV : Yes, and all my teachers taught me many things, but the most valuable training for me was especially my time with Mr Glyn Hughes, working with him in his own studio for nearly four years.
IR : Which painters do you admire ?
VPV : Like everyone, I really love nature, which has always been my first admiration. I can’t say that I admire a painter, it depends more on the theme of their painting than on the individual person. Of course I love the great landscape painters, Van Gogh, Monet...
IR : Where do you take your inspiration from ? Is your country an inspiration for you ?
VPV : I take my inspiration from nature, which is everywhere, and from my friends, which are everywhere. I have lived in three countries, with different atmospheres, languages and cultures in each one, which give me new ideas for my paintings, but of course I can’t forget my country, my motherland, with its green nature. I still work on many paintings with that in my mind. Cyprus, to me, is a blue island, with the sea always around you. Paris has given me the chance to see many great masterpieces and France also has a lot of inspiring atmospheres.
IR : Looking deep inside yourself, can you say why you paint ? What does it bring to you ?
VPV : As I said, I love colours and painting, and I have to paint whenever I get the feeling to do it. After I finish working, it feel like I have given birth to a child. I am mostly really attracted to nature; landscapes, birds, butterflies, fish, animals,... After growing up, I realised that even when I am angry I love to throw colours on canvas to calm down. Some paintings I work on deal with the problems in the world and how people are fighting to survive, like the civil war in Sri Lanka. I am especially affected by the suffering of students and of orphan children.
IR : Why did you decide to move to Europe ?
VPV : After studying in Cyprus, I went back home and I wanted to find a country where I could best continue my career, so I deeply thought about which country would be the better place to continue my painting.
IR : Is it easy to be a Sri Lankan artist in France ? How do people consider your work ? Do you consider yourself a Sri Lankan artist, a Tamil artist, or just an artist ?
VPV : The first and second World Wars really wiped out the country, but still, many well-known artists lived in France, and many artists from abroad moved to France. People here are open to different forms of art and expression, and also from the comments I receive in the visitors’ books of my exhibitions and on my website, I can see the feelings of different people from different countries and cultures who are happy with my art, so it’s not difficult for me to be a Sri Lankan artist in France. All this makes me still feel that I can go forward. This is what really makes me feel like an artist.
IR : As an artist or as an individual, do you feel like giving us a message about the Sri Lankan tragedy : this war raging hard again in the country ?
VPV : You are right, there has been a civil war for nearly 50 years in our country, which in recent times is being encouraged by the worldwide military powers to test their weapons (like the situation in parts of Africa for example) and which is particularly affecting the young generations and students in Sri Lanka. Somehow it has to end, people are tired of suffering and many are dying every day. I hope it will end soon.
IR : Do you know about people of Tamil descent in Reunion island ? Would you like to have an exhibition there ?
VPV : Of course I know that there are Tamil people in Reunion island and also Mauritius, as well as in the Caribbean and even in Eastern Asia. Today, after the beginning of the civil war, there are many Tamil people all around the world, especially in Europe, Canada and Australia. There is even a new generation of Tamils who have been born there. Coming back to Reunion, obviously I would love to have an exhibition there, but it is difficult to arrange from so far away. Actually, one of my favourite paintings, “Apsara 5”, is in a private collection in Reunion. I also have a plan to have an exhibition in Guadeloupe with Jean S. Sahai.
IR : What are your other plans for the future ?
VPV : Somehow, I am lucky to be busy with art always, and I feel that I can go on walking still further on that path.
by Philippe Pratx
Copyright © Indereunion 15.11.2008