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George Keyt

(1901 - 1993) Born in Sri Lanka to a family of Sinhalese-Dutch origin, George Keyt started exhibiting in the 1920s. The 1930's saw him preoccupied with the depiction of episodes from the Buddhist Jataka or Birth stories, culminating in the representation of the life and times of the Buddha on the walls of the circumambulatory shrine room of Gautami Vihara in Borella in 1940. At the same time he was also exposed to the influence of Western art, in particular the early cubist landscapes of Picasso and Braque, as well as Picasso's distortion of the human figure. It was Keyt's unique achievement to fuse these influences into a new artistic vocabulary. In 1954, his work was exhibited at the ICA (London) by Sir Herbert Read, and afterwards the exhibition travelled to the Art Institute of Rotterdam. His work is to be found in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the British Museum, as well as various public collections in India and Srilanka. The artist passed away in Colombo in 1993.

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