Priyantha Udagedara left Sri Lanka in 2006 after receiving a scholarship to continue his education in art through the Masters in Art program at the Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom. It was during this experience that later led to him following a practice based PhD at the same university where Udagedara's art began to evolve in an unexpected way. While his earlier work too consisted of fantastical, layered colour, this new series of work that he first exhibited in 2010 at Paradise Road Galleries, began to show clear signs of a deeper evolution that had begun to take place in Udagedara's practice.
Having grown up in Sri Lanka during the time of the civil war this escape to another culture allowed Udagedara the opportunity to reflect on his own experiences and those of his countrymen from a distant perspective. So his PhD entitled 'Rediscovering Paradise – painting, representing and revision of identities' came to be. In fact, Udagedara's was the first submission to be passed at the university.
Udagedara has exhibited his work in both the UK and Sri Lanka, as well as in numerous international venues including The Cross Art Project in Sydney, Australia and the Lalith Kala Academy Gallery in New Delhi, India.
Prageeth Rathnayake is an emerging artist with a similar viewpoint and opinion as the majority of artists graduating from the University of Visual and Performing Arts at present.
What sets Prageeth Rathnayake apart is his ability to paint with an individual style. He is an artist strongly influenced by the 90s movement, and yet there is clear inspiration also from the new movement of artists, those that have graduated and continued to teach and study art using the local art scene as an influence. Their work is becoming increasingly sensitive to technique and concept. Their paintings are less obvious and more intellectually stimulating.