A multi-dimensional personality, Michael Anthonisz is an artist who is at the same time a practicing chartered accountant and one of Sri lanka's leading swimming coaches. After many years in the commercial field where he had to share his passion for art with the demands of a challenging office career, he opted for early retirement to devote more time to his true calling as an artist.
He first exhibited his paintings at a joint exhibition in Colombo in 1979, and held two solo exhibitions of his work at the Alliance Francaise, Colombo, and Kandy in 1990.
His early works were largely surrealistic in content and execution although he prefers to think of them as belonging more to the visionary genre.
Stemming from a life-long study and close observation of the movement of swimmers - his work invariably include the human form, although he has also produced some very interesting portraits, as well as abstract watercolour landscapes. He works in a variety of media from oils to watercolour, pastels, pen and ink and charcoal, while he has also produced sculptures out of metal, stone, clay and found objects.
His sculptures were chosen by renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa for an exhibition of contemporary sculpture titled "Objects That Enhance Architecture", organised by Bawa in Colombo in 1991.
He has participated by invitation at numerous joint and commemorative exhibitions both in Sri Lanka and abroad and his paintings are in private collections in Australia, Amsterdam, London, Paris and New York.
In 2004, he curated 'The Burgher Connection' a major retrospective of the works of Burgher artists to mark the 400th anniversary of the Dutch arrival in Ceylon.
Sampath's work is constantly evolving. Experimental arts being Sampath's area of interest, he blends his imagination with different styles to bring out his themes. Sometimes he incorporates human figures and traditional designs into the background or he uses paint throws and prints to add more colour, at other times it's the scrape effect. As of late, he is experimenting with the use of various shapes and forms.