By Sereniti James
8th July 2022
It’s been five months since the very first opening night on 25th February 2022, at Gallery Sunari, Victoria, Australia. We were sworn to secrecy for some reason and unable to utter a word about the launch of this great Gallery way down under.
It was a success. The Gallery opened its doors to the public with a flare and a flourish paralleled to none. Wine and nibbles not withstanding, artists, fans, friends and family of Sunari Sooriaarratchi, the artist/ gallery founder/ owner, poured forth through its august portals. They basked in the creations of this soon to be famous, inimitable painter.
Self Portrait, 2013; Acrylic.
Goblet of dreams, Chalice of hope, gouache and pastel on canvas
Tarot card on cake
Triptych, 2015; Watercolour on paper. $ 700.00
Coloured Shadow, $ 520.00
The Artist’s hand, Pastel on paper. Sold
Churros, Larger watercolour. $1,370.00
Behold The Catalogue:
Sunari: A Retrospective
Sunari Sooriaarratchi began making art as a child of three years at her home and at the Cora Abraham Art Classes at a time when modern art was very much in the fore. She was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and was educated in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Much of her inspiration comes from this cross cultural influence.The vibrant colours in her experimental pieces comes from an area of creativity that focuses on the art of Batik both from Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
Her art teachers and the Principal of CAAC, were associated with those artists from the well known ‘43 Group of (artists), of Sri lanka, some of whom like Richard Gabriel and Neville Weeraratne, later emigrated to Australia, just like Sunari did.
Her work comes from using the bought and treasured fabric and colours in the very best of canvas and paints that she uses in her art, as well as scrap materials to be found in her immediate environment.
Sunari has been exhibited internationally and nationally in the many genres of the fine arts that she so excels in making.
Her largest abstract watercolours are to be found downstairs at the florists, Kevin The Flower Shop, for which she was commissioned to paint.
Using art to heal those embroiled in psychological/ physical dilemmas is part of the aesthetic that she employs in an altogether different aspect of art for therapy. Sunari used these tools while functioning as a well-being art practitioner for sometime..
The numerous aspects of how she uses art has added a dimension to her work that far exceeds the field of art itself. This passion that she exudes has emboldened her both as an artist and as a person. Her art is reflective of this splendour with which she creates breaking barriers as she ventures forth.
Sunari’s work exhibited here covers an array of periods in her evolution as an artist.
1.Vaughan Estate, 1996, while at CAAC; Tempera on paper.
2. Lamppost,1996, aged 16; Tempera on paper.
3. Mars bar man, 2006; Gouache.
4. The Bathroom, 2007; Pastel on paper.
5. The Pawn, 2007; Pastel on paper.
6. The Artist’s hand, Pastel on paper.
7. Daylesford Dreaming, 2019; Towards end of her Voltaire Days; Gouache on paper.
8. Corner of Jennifer’s Garden, 2019; Gouache on paper
9. Self Portrait, 2013; Acrylic.
12.Triptych, 2015; Watercolour on paper.
13.Green shade, Pastel on paper.
15.Churros, Larger watercolour.
17.Reds and Blues,
19.The Alchemy Series:
20. Goblet of Dreams/ Chalice of Hope
21.The Alchemy of Painting:
22. Portals into Other Worlds
Contact Gallery Sunari:
444, Centre Road, Bentleigh
Born 1986, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Lives and works Melbourne, Victoria.
Sunari Sooriaarratchi has been exhibiting different styles of her artwork since her early years at CAAC..
Her work was exhibited at several group exhibitions held by the School, at the prestigious Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, Colombo 07.
Performance/ installation, collaboration with Samuel Wood at RUNT SPACE, Gallery, (2014). Performance/Installation, fired and 500 pieces of unfired hand painted clay installation, (2015).
Her other Group shows include, Leftovers, Hawthorn East, where she curated her own show with fourteen artists, while a graduate student at Monash University, (2015); Collaborative painting, Monash University Open day Exhibition, (2015); Colour as Verb, Exhibition of paintings by Sunari Sooriaarratchi, Estelle Young and Tansy McNally, curated by Sunari Sooriaaratchi, Gallery Voltaire, North Melbourne. (2016); Group Exhibition with Melbourne Artists’ Coalition. (2018).
She Exhibited a series of 4 paintings, Waterworks, at Monash University Bachelor of Fine Art Graduate Exhibition, (2016). Her other solo exhibitions were Unearthed, at Gallery Voltaire, North melbourne.(2019).
Sunari presented Research in Trauma and Art as a Healing Practice at the International Conference for Undergraduate Research, (2015).
Received Bachelor of Fine Art, Monash University, (2017).
Mentor & Tutor, Art History and Fine Art, Monash University, (2016-2017).
Well-being Art Practitioner, Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School, (2020-2021).
Curator and Director of Gallery Voltaire, North Melbourne, (2016-2019).
Director, Gallery Sunari, Bentleigh, (2021-)
Written by Sharmini Jayawardena
20th February 2022