Taprobane Collection

Rahju Michael Pereira (1962)

“His painting readily creates in us an immediate sense of the general. The work is about a particular subject, but the sensation is always a general one – about life, about one’s own experience. It is like reading, where we use the test to make new experiences and not only for literal interpretation. With his work, we achieve a kind of single understanding, and single meaning. We are aware as Sartre has said, that “man is universal singular.” – Prof. S.B. Dissanayake


Rahju, also known as Rahju Michael Pereira is an artist who is of Sri Lankan and Norwegian heritage. He received his primary education from Trinity College in Kandy and continued his studies in Norway. Rahju furthered his passion for visual art at the Einar Granum’s School of Art in Oslo from which he graduated after three years of extensive studies and practice of painting. In 1982, he returned to Sri Lanka to become a professional painter, and he has since then been earning his livelihood mainly through art, living in Kandy. He has had exhibitions across Colombo and Kandy in venues such as the Lionel Wendt Gallery and the University of Peradeniya. 

Rahju has always been fascinated with art due to the innate quality images have to inspire more “enigmatic and symbolic conversation”. This has allowed him to play with images in his art as opposed to creating with words. Rahju’s portfolio of work speaks volumes about his practice as an experienced yogi who believes that true religiosity and spirituality are philosophical concepts related to freedom that emerge only when people stop letting religion restrain their way of thinking. His paintings on the theme of the monsoon in a local village (for an exhibition done in 1998) place human figures alongside realistic depictions of nature symbolizing the earthliness of human existence and the relationship of mutual dependence between the two. In relation to such paintings of nature and man created by Rahju, Prof. S. B. Dissanayake recognizes a “liberating effect” which encourages questions of existential thought in the viewer while invigorating his eyes with a unique aesthetic.

Rahju has also experimented with the domain of surrealism, imitating the works of Salvador Dali. A 1984 exhibition held at the Alliance Francaise in Kandy consisted of visual portrayals of visions, dreams, and make-believe, that allowed him to develop his Dali-esque style with his own unique additions including elements of the real world such as pieces of chain link, barbed wire, real cloth, real envelopes, mirrors and even needles. Ellen Dissanayake reminisces on one painting specifically, referring to the manner in which such elements were brought together by Rahju to create “a very realistically-painted butterfly (with painted shadow) to one canvas.” Motifs of fragility and existence such as leaves, human bones, limbs and hands often feature in Rahju’s surrealistic paintings, again bringing into light the existential crisis behind humanity and the world. 


Rahju, as a yogi, is a rare artist who actively practices the philosophy behind his paintings in personal life as well. He lives a simple life, embracing his multicultural personality as a half-Sri Lankan and half-Norwegian. He refers to himself as a “fusion head”, a part of a group of “people who have been born out of currents from all over the world which meet on this island” of Sri Lanka. Rahju identifies himself as a Buddhist and lives a life as a spiritual recluse in his home and studio that overlook the Hunas Falls in Lewella, Kandy. His personality and lifestyle are both aimed at liberation, mirroring the style of his art that inspires the viewer in terms of simplicity, solitude and developing an inward experience to succeed on a path towards maturity and wisdom. 

Ref :R 1

Title :Buddha Amongst the Ruins

Signed :On Reverse

Measurements in Cms :90 x 143.5

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :90 x 143.5

Ref :R 3

Title :Monsoon Field Bright & Clear

Signed :On Reverse

Year :1998

Measurements in Cms :142 x 87.5

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :142 x 87.5

Ref :R 6

Title :Mountain Dancer

Signed :On Reverse

Measurements in Cms :79.5 x 121

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :79.5 x 121

Ref :R 8

Title :Buddha Eyes

Signed :On Reverse

Measurements in Cms :60 x 90

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :60 x 90

Ref :R 9

Title :Funeral of Light III

Signed :On Reverse

Measurements in Cms :90 x 141

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :90 x 141

Ref :R 11

Title :Araliya Buddha

Signed :On Reverse

Measurements in Cms :89 x 89

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :89 x 89

Ref :R 16

Title :Mahadeva Solar and Mahadeva Luna

Signed :On Reverse

Measurements in Cms :90 x 60.5

Material Used :Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions in Cms. :90 x 60.5

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