ChathuA (full name: Mr. Chaturanga Akurassage) was born on March 7th 1986. He grew up in Dansinan Estate (Nuwara Eliya - Sri Lanka), in the midst of abundant tea plantations, in a peaceful environment surrounded by deeply rooted Buddhist influences. All generations before him were Buddhist – a tradition that goes back 2600 years – which is why ChathuA is also a Buddhist in heart and soul. He actually relentlessly studies Buddhism, which to him is a philosophy rather than a religion. It’s a philosophy he studies in minute detail; a journey in which he likes to get lost and tries to reach a profound understanding of … every single day.
Family is key to ChathuA, so he really takes responsibility for his parents and kin. When he was 16 he took care of his two younger brothers and his terminally ill grandmother. Since his mother was forced to work abroad for financial reasons and his father worked in the capital as a mason, the task of looking after the family was taken up by him.
In terms of schooling, ChathuA was an exemplary student (outstanding even). Two fields he absolutely excelled at were sports (100m, 200m and long jump) and arts (drawing, painting, clay sculptures ...). Especially arts drew his attention from early on. ChathuA first took up art and painting at the age of five, and has made an astonishing evolution since then.
In the early stages of his career his work was mainly focused on natural and classic landscapes, as well as Buddha, so as such he has a very classical base. Nowadays ChathuA has adopted a more abstract approach to the elements and makes more contemporary art, which shows his evolution as an artist. In terms of color and form, the eastern influence has always been visible in his works, which is only logic given his background. However it’s not the only influence he has, making his works very versatile and eclectic. Having an art studio in Sri Lanka and Belgium also contributes to the multi-facetted nature of his works of art.
Elements that always reoccur in ChathuA’s pieces are living authentically in all different layers of life. He’s an artist that truly believes that “the only value art has is what it does to your heart and soul”. The world is a multi-layered fusion, a contemporary jungle where inner peace is needed to survive. ChathuA’s works are an expression of deep and profound explorations of issues that concern him. They’re contemplations on the hard outside world versus soothing inner peace, on the nature of nature and the true nature of humans.
For ChathuA, it all boils down to finding your inner peace, finding yourself. It’s about finding balance in life, much like Yin and Yang. The world can be a jungle; cold, confusing and stressful. In between wars, politics, media, news, work pressure, insecurities, destructive relationships, artificial connections, invisible frequencies and waves, superficial social networks and loss of human interaction … people can get lost. ChathuA strives to reach true inner peace, achieved by being one with oneself, and this is something he tries to instill in others across his paintings. As an artist he hopes to inspire others to be at peace with themselves, and to meditate on the concept of life and happiness. Because happiness cannot be reached from the outside, but needs to come from within. In the end the key to happiness is our own responsibility. Finding peace is not a synonym of everything being perfect, but rather being content with your essence in spite of things not being perfect. This is key in the work of ChathuA. Finding yourself and leading an authentic life. Not surprisingly this is also key within Buddhism, which ChathuA has imprinted in his DNA. It’s the base philosophy from which all his works stem.
Some quotes that inspire ChathuA and illustrate the above:
- “Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it” > unknown
- “He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.” > Marcus Aurelius
When ChathuA paints he listens to meditational music and always chooses a spot with a view on nature. He likes to be in touch with nature during the creative process, surrounded by trees, flowers and animals. Painting is actually a form of meditation for this artist. In fact, meditation is another field of interest of ChathuA; it’s a skill he has mastered by practicing every day, and it’s a technique he wants pass on to others in order for them to find the way to their true happiness.
Discovering who you really are is a journey, not a destination. This can also be said of ChathuA’s art. His art is a path, an evolution that takes different shapes and colors as the artist lives new experiences and adventures. In a way ChathuA’s goal is to take the viewers along on his journey, and make them think about their own path by offering them visual anchors on the way to inner peace.
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