If the name Billari doesn't sound all that familiar, fear not my comrades, the gallery of the name has not officially opened to the public. Even so, we got an opportunity to see the gallery before anyone else and as always, we decided to tell you guys about it. You're welcome. :)
The gallery we are referring to today is none other than the art gallery of artist Mueen Saheed. Once a jeweller by profession, Mr Saheed switched to the arts over a decade ago on hearing a calling and is now dedicated to bringing something new to the world without following the trail as most of us tend to do.
While his name might not sound as familiar as one would imagine, his art might not be a stranger to many of you. If you've been to Movenpick it's very likely that you've seen his work. Anyhow, getting to the gist of it, Mr Saheed paints in the abstract and let us all come to an agreement that his art is positively stunning.
Billari is the home to many things related to Mr Saheed. It not only contains over 300 pieces by the aforesaid, but it also is home to the artist's workspace (which is also open to the public if they want to 'see where the magic happens.')
Walking into the 6 story building was like diving head first into the deep end.
Why? not 10 feet from the entrance lies the start to an array of paintings, sculptures and more. We're not even exaggerating when we say this. Random pieces of furniture, used car parts, antique doors, windows and of course, canvases drowning in colour all have been brought back to life by him and we are loving it.
To those of you who are stressing out by the 6-floor mention, the gallery is only two or three floors and they do have an elevator if needed. However, be aware; art follows you everywhere here. From the staircase to the ground floor parking area. There is no escape from it. Regardless, there will be someone to guide you through this net of art even if the artist isn't there himself.
Now for the art. As most of you know, the technique(?) of painting in the abstract is one that gives the viewer the freedom to interpret the artist's true intentions in any way they see it. While most of his art is in fact in the abstract, he does have quite a few paintings of animals, flowers and even one with the lady in the pearl earrings.
Mr Saheed was quite obliging in asking us to interpret some of his paintings to him. (Pretty sure he was more amused than impressed tbh). Nevertheless, he explained that he uses his art as a way of expressing himself in terms of telling the stories he finds within him to others around him in a way that they too can connect to it.
His paintings start at 20,000 LKR and go up to the millions. He doesn't do prints as prints are relatively expensive and must be done in larger numbers if done.
We were made aware that even those of you who are interested in seeing his art but aren't able to purchase anything, is more than welcome to his threshold to (and I paraphrase,) grab a cup of tea or coffee from the cafe that will open up, and walk aimlessly just indulging in the paintings. (the last part was us)
Mr Saheed is also open to giving art classes to those of you who are interested. Even if it's not with the sole intention of learning art but is looking for art as a therapeutic/ artistic getaway.
We would just say that Billari is a wonderful place to either buy or view some art. Which is why we'd totally recommend to check it out when it opens up in late December. So, until then, click here to get a sneak peek of what you can expect.
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