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Bonsai: A growing art spreading its roots across Sri Lanka


12 November 2016 12:12 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


If you are looking for a venue to relax and unwind this coming Sunday afternoon, the Bonsai exhibition will be the ideal location. The word Bonsai is a Japanese term which directly translates to “planted in a container”. Though the direct definition of Bonsai does sound bleak, the art form is certainly not. Bonsai is derived from an ancient Chinese horticultural practice initiated by Chinese monks travelling the globe around 1000 years ago. The ultimate goal of growing a Bonsai is to create a miniaturized but realistic representation of nature in the form of a tree. There is a common misconception that Bonsai are genetically dwarfed plants, however, any species of tree can be used to grow one, regardless of the size.   
 The Sri Lanka Bonsai Association is a non-profit organization promoting the art of Bonsai as a hobby in Sri Lanka and has held a number of successful exhibitions in the past. This will be the Association’s 25th annual exhibition “REFLECTIONS 2016 - Living Images”. The exhibition will be open from 9.30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on November 13 and from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. on November 14. Demonstrations will be held at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on both days.   
Ambassador of Japan Kenichi Suganuma and Madam Suganuma will be the Chief Guests on the occasion. Bonsai artists all over the world will exhibit their creations in special exhibitions, organized by their respective clubs or associations in order to assess their plants and for public viewing. A large collection of quality Bonsai plants will be on display this year.   
The current and former Presidents of the association spoke enthusiastically to the Daily Mirror about their upcoming event.   
Naveen Sooriyarachchi, the current President of The Sri Lanka Bonsai Association said, “We host this exhibition every year because we want more people to get interested and involved in the art of Bonsai. Though the exhibition is in Colombo, many people from outstation areas show great enthusiasm for the event. Bonsai was earlier considered a hobby of the upper classes, however I am happy to see that bonsai is enjoyed by a variety of people from around the nation. I am myself extremely fond of Bonsai and I do not consider it a hobby but a lifestyle.”   
He also spoke about the benefits of Bonsai, “I believe Bonsai is the best form of meditation as one’s sole focus is on the tree for around 2-3 hours. The tranquility of pursuing this art form is indescribable. Therefore, it boosts mental health. It is also a beautiful art form directly linked with nature, where the journey can be thoroughly enjoyed.”   
He added that this exhibition was a great opportunity for Bonsai enthusiasts as they would be selling Bonsai soil and Bonsai pots at the exhibition. The equipment for Bonsai is a rarity in Sri Lanka and is therefore a good opportunity for the public.   
M.A. Premasiri, the past President of the association, spoke about how this art form was not about succeeding or failing but about creating. “When the Bonsai trees are displayed at the exhibitions, many viewers become enthusiastic about creating one themselves. A beginner could be a little nervous of some of the techniques used but one can gain confidence in the art in no time. With growing confidence, new ideas can be experimented with and some will succeed and some may fail. But, with each failure, you will learn how to go ahead with the task of creating a sculpture out of a living specimen.   
He added,“We are surrounded by trees with all sorts of shapes and sizes and these form the basis of inspiration for a Bonsai artist. If one is to succeed in Bonsai, one should analyse the structure, so that realistic images of trees can be produced in miniature. Bonsai can be a horticultural challenge to a plant lover, but for someone with an artistic touch, it can become an excellent medium to explore their creativity. The exhibition will be a great benefit for all regardless of age. All are welcome to attend the exhibition.”   
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