Sangabo Dias

Nihal Sangabo Dias

Nihal Sangabo Dias is an artists who has been able to capture the very essence of  being Sri Lankan, its countryside, rural life and culture through his paintings on canvas or paper. A renowned sculptor and painter, Nihal Sangabo’s love for art since his childhood days has grown in style and character with every passing year. He has held many exhibitions locally and abroad including in Germany, India and Sweden and received international recognition with awards from Geneva and Argentina. Being deaf since birth, he has a vivid image of his childhood and school day days from Galle.  “ My father was a school Principle. I can remember a gravel path by the side of our house and the muddy canal that ran alongside. I used to plunge into it to collect clay that I used to make various objects. On such occasions my mother used to punish me for playing with mud, but my father used to encourage me by giving me sheets of paper and colours” he says with his bright smiling eyes through his sign language. Soon after graduation from the school of fine arts in 1976, he joined the Rohana School for the deaf as an art teacher. Since then he has been working at the Colombo Municipal Council as a lithographic technician in the printing Department. One of his works depicting the General Meeting of the Colombo Municipal council in 1906 is still on display at the Old Town Hall. He has also contributed his time as a researcher of in the Sign Language Project at the National Institute of Education, Maharagama. He has also designed images for a number postage stamps produced for Sri Lanka.  Regarding his art he says “ I listen to what you say through the feelings  I get from your face and eyes. That is why some say that my eyes are different from those of others. The images that come to mind and disappear are never-ending. I try to just mix a drop of such images with a drop of the beauty of what I see around me onto Canvas or paper in colour. If you could see something about me, about life and the world around us by looking at my paintings, then, that is my happiness”.