The Seated Man

(Sculpture by Anoli Perera; medium: welded iron and autopaint)

This sculpture by Sri Lankan artist Anoli Perera was given to me when I designed a house for Anoli and her husband Sasanka Perera. Construction on the house was completed in 1996, soon after my return to Sri Lanka having completed my Masters in Finland, and only a few years after the completion of my own home. The sculpture was included as part of my consultancy fee as architect of their home, and became one of the first pieces in my collection.

The value of the piece is not only in its perfect form and aesthetic but also in what it represents. To me the Seated Man speaks to the turbulent life experiences we sometimes forge through. His sturdy, still frame harkening to the strength and resilience we must find within ourselves to overcome. In 1997, while on the way to visit a new site up in the hills of the country, the vehicle I was in swerved off-road and I was caught in a near-fatal collision. When I returned home from the hospital and saw the contorted figure of the Seated Man, hunched on the plinth by the stairs, I felt this strong sense of kinship; of understanding. He hasn’t moved since.

- Hirante Welandawe

“Having trained as a stone carver wanted to experiment with other hard materials. I started working on a series of art works with scrap metal, particularly discarded automobile parts. The seated man was an outcome of experimentation with iron. I was inspired by the elongated sculptures of Alberto Giacometti (L’Homme qui marche / The walking Man)”

- Anoli Perera

Hirante Welandawe

Hirante Welandawe graduated from the University of Moratuwa and obtained her Masters from the Alvar Aalto University in Helsinki. Welandawe worked initially under Master Architect B.V. Doshi whose work had a profound influence in the direction of her work. She started work with numerous personalized homes which helped her to develop a particular people centric way of approaching architecture focusing on socio cultural profiles and lifestyle.

She is a Visiting Design Tutor at the City School of Architecture, has received several Design awards and was nominated for the Aga Khan award for Architecture in 2010.

Welandawe’s interest is in exploring the potential that Architecture offers to enhance the lived experience of the individual and the community.