Prof. A. C. Thenuwara

Qualifications: BFA (Kelaniya), MFA (Moscow), MPhil (PGIAR, Kelaniya)


Professor Chandraguptha Thenuwara (BFA/MFA/MPhil) was born in 1960, in Galle, Sri Lanka. He is the Professor of the department of History and Art Theory at the University of the Visual and Performing Arts and the director of Internal Quality Assurance Unit of the University of the Visual and Performing Arts,Colombo. In 1993, He founded the Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts(VAFA), an artist-run Alternative art school. He studied painting at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, University of Kelaniya (1978-1981) and Surikov State Art Institute, Moscow, Russia (1985-1992);MPhil at the Post Graduate Institute of Archeology (PGIAR),Kelaniya University(2006). Since 1978 he has exhibited widely in Sri Lanka and Abroad. His works are also included in the collections of the Queensland Art Gallery Australia, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum Japan, John Moore’s University Art Collection Liverpool and Fine Arts Museum of Udmurtia, Izhevsk, Russia. His public monuments include the Seeduwa monument to the Disappeared and Monument to Neelan Thiruchelvam at Kinsey Terrace Colombo.

Chandraguptha Thenuwara is a leading Sri Lankan Artist whose work focuses on issues surrounding the impact of war in Sri Lanka. In response to overwhelming crisis Thenuwara has devised his own stylistic formulation, which he has called “”Barrelism””. Among his recent works there were drawing and painting series such as ‘This is not a White Van’, ‘This is not a White Flag’ and ‘Thorns’. His solo exhibitions Neo-Barrelism (2007), ‘Wall’ (2011), ‘Beautification’ (2013) and Monotony (2014), ‘Electric Chair for Sale’ (2015), changed gallery space completely. His recent exhibition was ‘Executive Demon’ (2018). He was a President of the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) from 2014 January to January 2015. He is an active member of ‘Purawesi Balaya’ (Citizens’ Power) organization. Since December 2015 to 2018 June He was the President of the Arts Council of Sri Lanka and since 2015 to 2020 The Director of the Center for Quality Assurance of the University of the Visual and Performing Arts. He lives and works in Colombo.

Research Interests:

Painting, Art History, Visual and Cultural Studies, Film, Curriculum Development


  • Thenuwara, Chandraguptha, 2016. Drushyamana: Encyclopaedic Series of Glossary of Visual Art, Part 1, Kotte: Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts
  • Thenuwara, Chandraguptha, 2016. Drushyamana: Encyclopaedic Series of Glossary of Visual Art, Part 2, Kotte: Vibhavi Academy of Fine
  • Thenuwara, Chandraguptha, 2016. Drushyamana: Encyclopaedic Series of Glossary of Visual Art, Part 3, Kotte: Vibhavi Academy of Fine
  • Thenuwara, Chandraguptha, Kingsley Gunatillake & Udaya Hewawasam, 2015. Alternative Art Teaching Manual for Art Teachers, Kotte: Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts
  • Thenuwara, Chandraguptha,2020. Re-Looking at Riots in Contemporary Sri Lanka, chapter in Joanna Joseph (Associate Editor), Nights of the Dispossessed: Riots Unbound, New York: Colombia Books
  • Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Jagath Weerasinghe, T.Shanathanan and Muhanned Cader, 2008. Artist Book: One Year Drawing Project, Artists: Publisher: Raking Leaves, ISBN 9780955667411
  • Chandraguptha Thenuwara, T.Shanathanan and Muhanned Cader, Arjuna Gunarathna et al., 2019, The A To Z Of Conflict, Publisher: Raking Leaves, ISBN 9780955667473
  • Chuhan, Jagjit; Khan, Fareda & Maddison, Sheila (Ed), 2004, Reflections: In conversation with artists from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka: Artists: Shishir BHATTACHARJEE, Ruby CHISHTI, Ram Rahman, Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Publisher: Shisha (Manchester, United Kingdom), ISBN 0954556313
  • “On Barrelism”, pp 82-87 in Journal Dialogue, Civic, Managing Editor: Brett Jones, No 13, December 1999, ISSN 1326-3404
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  • Chandraguptha Thenuwara, “Comparison of Artistic features of Kandyan and Southern schools” Vidyodaya: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 2, Peer Reviewed Journal, University of Sri Jayawardenepura,
  • “Barrelism: A Response to the Militarization of Urban Space,” in the Gendering Urban Space in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa Workshop, Co-organized by the Institute for Gender and Women Studies, American University in Cairo & the Shehr Network
  • “Issues Related to the Display and Collection of Contemporary Art”, International Conference, Swami Vipulanandan Institute of Aesthetic Studies, Batticaloa,
  • “My Perception about urban planning and the recent post-war”, South Asia Urban Forum, International Conference, Colombo, 2015


  • Scholarship for MFA, 1985 Moscow State Art Institute, Russia
  • Presidential Award 2014, Best Art Director, Film Mille soya
  • Sarasaviya Film Award, 2014, Best Art Director, Film Mille Soya
  • Signis Award 2014, Best Art Director, Film Mille Soya”


Artworks at Institutional and Private Collections:

  • LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art),USA
  • Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka Japan
  • Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
  • John Moore’s University Art Collection, Liverpool
  • Fine Art Museum of Udmurtia, Izhevsk City, Udmurtia, Russia
  • Private Collections in Sri Lanka and Abroad

Other Links :

Google Scholar   |  ResearchGate