Yathra is the quintessential evolution of the legacy of Swanee. Swanee Jayawardene gave life to explosion batik, the avant-garde fusion of batik and tie and dye. Just as much as Swanee’s legacy was built on the uniqueness and the one off quality of the style she created, we at Yathra, focus on that very quality of batik.
Our inspiration stems from the uniqueness of self and style of every woman and we believe in every woman being able to express that individuality which perfectly reflects the unrepeatable quality of batik. We believe in staying true to the unique Sri Lankan style of batik while embracing the changes engendered by time and being fearless in revolutionizing traditions.
SWANEE JAYAWARDENE (1930 - 2010)
Swanee Jayawardene’s first art teacher was K. S. Perera. Then she studied under Cora Abraham and also at the Stanley Abeysinghe Art School. With the encouragement and advice of Geoffrey Beling, she then studied art under Harry Peiris. In 1954 she became a member of the 43 Group. Her first exhibition with this group was in 1955, when she was only 25. Thereafter she went onto participate in numerous exhibitions including the prestigious Venice Biennale.
Intrigued by the method of patterning and dying, Swanee tied knots on fabric that was immersed in paint, similar to the Indian practice. She wanted more colour with a dramatic impact. So she deviated from the Indian style and got larger patterns and that meant using the batik technique with tie-and-dye. Thus innovating a style which she named ‘explosion batik’ giving batik an in-depth excitement and tie-and-dye expanded designs. She perfected her own unique style of batik and tie-dye in fabrics and clothing, characterised by bursts of vivid colour, which conveys a refined aesthetic sense and a painter's command of colour and composition.