of 200 pages.
Paintings and murals - 89 colour
plates and 22 line drawings
Printed on 150GSM matt art paper
Laminated dust jacket
Cover bound in hand woven hemp
Only 600 numbered copies
US$ 47, £ 32, Sri Lanka Rs. 4000
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GEORGE KEYT'S CENTENNIAL
Born a year after the turn of the last century, George Keyt, Sri Lanka's most
distinguished and renowned modern painter, stemming from Indo-Dutch origins gave much time
from an early age to drawing and the study of art, and developed a consuming passion for
books and reading.
The spell of the ancient hill capital and its Buddhist aura soon came to exercise a
powerful and lasting influence and was to provide both the literary and artistic stimulus
living so close to the Malwatte Vihare. He became greatly drawn towards Buddhism and
championed the cause of the Buddhist revival. He wrote profusely in both prose and
The young painter also began to turn his back on the stifling values of the Westernised
millieu of the class into which he was born.
His explorations in Hindu mythology and Indian literature led him to close links with
the cultural life of India, where he has lived for long and short periods from 1939 right
up to the late seventies. To the Sri Lanka Buddhist source were now added the
compelling imagery of Hindu myth and legend as vital influences.
A meeting with Rabindranath Tagore in the nineteen thirties in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) left
a lasting impression.
Many exhibitions of his work have also been held in India, London and other European
and American centres. His pictures are to be found in various museums and galleries
abroad, as well as in private collections in Sri Lanka and throughout the world.
His work has been introduces and eulogised by eminent critics like Herbert Read,
William Archer, Andre Chamson, George Besson, Mulk Raj Anand, E M Forster, John Berger and
William Graham, while discerning critics in his own country have been quick to laud his
His fame as a painter has obscured his significance as a poet; not so well known,
therefore, is the fact that he was one of the few poets of any stature in contemporary Sri
Lanka. He has also proclaimed his precepts and practice as a painter in a few
notable essays on the vision of the painter, and art in relation to the beholder and
The publication endeavours to survey the astounding fertility and majestic output of
over seventy years of unceasing and untiring artistic vision of Sri Lanka's most
H A I Goonetileke