Namini Wijedasa, on David Shillingford Paynter, in The Sunday Times, 22 November 2015, sent to me by Jane Russell of UK and Sri Lanka
David Shillingford Paynter was an ornament of the Anglo-Ceylonese community. His middle name indicates that his English father was a west countryman, most likely from Devon. Paynter combined a Protestant work ethic with a Sinhalese aesthetic sensibility about colour and form.
He was also a remarkably honest painter. He openly acknowledged his homosexual preference in his paintings of young Ceylonese men: male beauty overtly informed his work. Works such as ‘L’Apres-Midi (d’un Faune’)*, which is on display in the permanent collection at the Royal Brighton Museum of Art in the UK, and ‘Pumpkin Boy’ (in private hands) show him to be a champion of what is now termed ‘Queer Art’. In that regard, Paynter was far in advance of his student George Bevan, another renowned Anglo-Ceylonese painter. The ‘homosexual male gaze’ is now acknowledged as an important, if specific, genre of 20th century western art. Paynter was in the vanguard of this movement.
Apres-Midi d’un Faune was the name of the famous ballet choreographed and performed by Nijinsky as part of a Ballet Russe production in 1911. The Ballet Russe was the project of Sergei Diaghilev. Diaghilev and Nijinsky were an openly gay couple. The impact of the Ballet Russe on French, if not to say global, art and society in the period 1909 – 1929 is incalculable. That Paynter openly espoused homosexuality shows his rejection of hypocrisy and cant. He was a man ashamed of nothing. Paynter burned bright as a true meld of both western and eastern sensibilities. It is significant that he is being re-evaluated as one of the great Asian painters of the 20th century.
Below is a copy by Naren Banda of Paynter’s ‘Pumpkin Boy’
Sheshan Abeysekera: “Restoration of the David Paynter Murals in The Chapel of Trinity College, Kandy,” 28 August 2020, ……………………………….. https://trinitycollege.lk/2020/08/28/restoration-of-the-david-paynter-murals-chapel-of-trinity-college-kandy/
FURTHERMORE …. Thuppahi got into the ‘act’
- [Michael Roberts]: “The Nomenclature and Lineaments of White-Brown Cohabitation in British Ceylon: A Puzzle,” 17 October 2017, https://thuppahis.com/2021/10/17/the-nomenclature-and-lineaments-of-white-brown-cohabitation-in-british-ceylon-a-puzzle/
- [Collecctivee Compilation]: “Revelations? ‘Nationalities’ in the 1871 Census of British Ceylon,” 19 November 2021, …………………………………………………. https://thuppahis.com/2021/11/19/revelations-nationalities-in-the-1871-census-of-british-ceylon