I Don’t Know But I Remember | Daily News

I Don’t Know But I Remember

An Exhibition by Fabienne Francotte

‘I Don’t Know But I Remember’ by Fabienne Francotte will be on view to the public daily from 10 am to 6pm at the Saskia Fernando Gallery until March 20.

Fabienne Francotte moved to Sri Lanka in 2016. Her visual documentation of her experiences in the island was repeatedly maintained in her diaries. Her works combine social, emotional and spiritual experiences; the vivid narrative of an expatriate, teacher and observer. Born in Belgium, she studied calligraphy at the Maison du Livre in Brussels. I Don’t Know But I Remember presents cathartically pages removed from within her books, creating a chronological visualization of time, both interconnected and disconnected via its narrative. The images are a survey of her surroundings and environment; a juxtaposition of emotional exchanges and simple observations. Included in this exhibition are six miniature figurative clay works that connect the artist’s discipline to three-dimensional form and bear an undeniable link with the process of her paper work. The intimate nature of these works, both in their subject and medium, act as a gift to the viewer; the artist chooses to share them as an ode to her journey and her encounters.

After 20 years of working with children in Belgium, the artist began her artistic practice with a course in calligraphy, a technique that is still evident in much of her work. Having exhibited her works extensively in Europe the artist moved to Sri Lanka in 2016 and continued to engage with communities across different social strata, allowing her to absorb her new environment and interpret these experiences into her first exhibition of works in Colombo, ‘It’s Like Someone Took My Soul’.The portraits, inspired by Fabienne’s personal journey through daily life and the complexities of the Sri Lankan identities she met. The works were infused with the essence of her many interactions, which then, at the time of their creation, spontaneously intermingle with her memories and her mood. While featuring external, physical features, her works lend insight to the inside of each persona. She reveals an interior human world, at times disturbing, but always beautiful. Through her art, Fabienne becomes an unintentional conduit of the soul.

Her portraits are about the characteristics of class, gender, and race. They are a tale of the daily struggle showing distinctive appearances, expressions, and gestures. Her people are everyday and anonymous. Through them, she communicates the conflicting issues in Sri Lanka today: school and education, dreams and weddings, sex and business, silence and fear, courage and dedication, as well as religion and tolerance.

For Fabienne, drawing is thinking. It is the language she speaks. She concentrates on the encouragement of free self-expression through drawing, painting, and sculpture. It is this same freedom and empathy that she brings to her time spent at the NIMH in Angoda and at the Siviraja Children’s Development Center for the deaf and blind. Facilitating a “breath of fresh air,” through art making, exploration, and encouragement, Fabienne provides a space for students and patients to confidentially draw outside the lines. Drawing functions as a safety net, giving the students the feeling of being “normal.” Her goal is to combine education, self esteem, and quality of life in each experience with her students. -SAG

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