Tuesday, October 04, 2011



21.5x27.5 cm, 256 pages, 149 black & white and 146 colour photographs, Words by Robert Silva

When it hit the booksehlves in 1986 it was a pioneer publication.
No other Sri Lankan had produced such a comprehensive book of this nature.
It was also the first book of colour and black and white photographs to be published by a Sri Lankan. The previous book of its genre was Images of an Island by Reg van Culenberg, published 25 years previously and the milestone before that was Lionel Wendt’s Ceylon.

“Though I have never learnt to handle a camera, I could claim to be a happy collaborationist of a sort with him. I have followed his trail or similar trails. I have slept on the sand bar at Sinnemuhattuvaram. I have drunk of the dune waters of the moya kalapuwa across Menik Ganga; I have rested my head on soft sea sand pillows fashioned by me on the lonely trek to Minihagalkanda; I have drunk the toddy oozing out from the palmyra flower on the sand dunes of Talaimannar; I have glimpsed the Elysian of a score of hills from Ritigala to Kirigalpotte. So it is with a sense of reverence and of lovely inner joy that I reach for these pictures where the air is scented, where one hears the sound of falling waters or the whisper of bare trees, where one sees the flame of the dying sun hushed by the moan of the sea or the still waters of the kalapuwa.” – Vesak Nanayakkara, Weekend, 18 January 1987

“It is the sort of publication that should be mass-produced and made easily available to every man, woman and child so that they might see the meaning of ‘A National Heritage’ with their own eyes. They will understand as well as Nihal Fernando does, why that heritage should be protected and conserved for future generations, just as the ancient Sri Lankans conserved and passed on that heritage to the present generation.” – J.D.N. Banks, Forum

“This volume is truly a great work of Art and generations to come will remember him for having preserved for them an insight into our environment which may forever vanish from this island.” – D.C.L. Amarasinghe, Daily News

“This is the soul song of a man in love with light, his country, and truth. Fernando does not manipulate his subjects or use special effects but simply makes you SEE when earlier you may have looked.”
– Malathi de Alwis, Sunday Island

“Robert Silva’s text matches the quality of Nihal’s photographs – splendid, vigorous language with constant references and quotations of a widely educated man, somewitmes with the madness of a poet but also sensitive, fearlessly reeling off dates and history without the ‘it has been said’ or ‘one can suppose’ of the nervous scholar.”
– Barbara Sansoni, Sunday Observer

“It is the work of an artist, the testament of a wordless poet, whose medium is the camera and who had devoted his life to record with selfless love the uniqueness of his island country, and in doing so has become one of its best interpreters. Underneath the visual delight it carries a protest against the rapists and those apathetic to who rape that uniqueness, and an unspoken warning that much of what the readers see in these pages, they may not see for long if the ravishing continues. It is a please to us all to reinstate ourselves in nature.” – Sunday Island, 11 January 1987



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