Thank you to my readers!

It’s been an amazing digital romp keeping this blog going the last six years or so. Through the thick and thin days, I’ve appreciated your feedback comments. Taking stock today I now have 225 posts, 734 comments and over 135,000 hits,

So this is to say a Big Thank you to all who have supported and encouraged me to write. I miss the comments and feedback which usually came with a good dollop of characteristic humour, I got from Mike Udabage.  Sadly he is not with us anymore, but I can still see his comments and smile.

The image of the school children that landed me in trouble. 10 Nov 2007. Photograph copyright Chulie de Silva

The image of the school children that landed me in trouble. 10 Nov 2007. Photograph copyright Chulie de Silva

I started this blog in 2007, November with the first post  Shaken not stirred and my first experience of being hauled into a Police Station and having a ride with Police escorts in a blue jeep. At least, I got off without having to spend a night at the Royal Boarding House.

Prior to this in 2006, on the second anniversary of the  Tsunami in 2004, I started the Hikkaduwa Chronicles . This was supposed to be a jumbled memoir of a family that has lived in Hikkaduwa for over a century. The original intention was to keep the two blogs separate – one on family history and one as a photoblog. But once our web aggregator Kottu took Hikkaduwa Chronicles off its list, and with limited time it made more sense to keep the Chuls Bits & Pics going as my main blog. Now, I reblog on to Hikkaduwa Chronicles, the relevant pieces, as I still have some readers who follow that.

The smiling eyes, one of my favourite photos. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

The smiling eyes, one of my favourite photos. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Gold winner on hits is:

Degas Little Dancer. The All time favourite blog with readers. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Degas Little Dancer. The All time favourite blog with readers. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

The next favourite is:

The 200 year old Sri Lankan house photo on the blog that gets second most hits. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

The 200 year old Sri Lankan house photo on the blog that gets second most hits. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

And the bronze goes to:

Birthplace of Martin Wickramasinghe. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Birthplace of Sri Lankan literary giant Martin Wickramasinghe. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

The posts on this blog that got more than 1000 hits are:

Degas’ Fourteen Year Old Little Dancer More stats 10,194
Age Old Charm of a 200 year old Sri Lanka House More stats 9,530
Martin Wickramasinghe’s house, Koggala, Sri Lanka More stats 4,437
Kandyan Dancers & Drummers More stats 3,183
Selling Bananas and Discussing Climate Change More stats 3,169
The Not So Hi! Ladies of Sri Lanka More stats 3,093
Goddess Tara Time to Come Home ? More stats 2,809
Tsunami 3 years on: Remembering Prasanna Kirtisinghe More stats 2,227
  Images of Jaffna More stats 2,201
Much ado about Hikka nudes More stats 1,893
Afghan Treasures Exhibition: a peep into a rich heritage More stats 1,860
Painful wakeup call@Lighthouse, Galle More stats 1,825
Colours of Dhaka More stats 1,231
Maugham, Miss Pretty Girl, Cabbages & Condoms More stats 1,162
Bomb in a Bra: Don’t Cry Baby, Don’t Cry More stats 1,137
Smiling Eyes More stats 1,075
The shrine on the beach “Welle Dewale,” Unawatuna More stats 1,043

For me it’s always interesting to see the WordPress summaries and receive comments from someone from a far away place. This interaction is what makes a blog more interesting, than even writing a book. It’s the icing on the cake.

In this melee of blog posts, I’ve found another Chulie — Chulie Davey whose parents lived in Colombo in the 50’s and we exchanged Dear Chulie emails sometime ago; Dale from US who was a visitor to my parents home in the 1970’s and sends me links on classical music pieces to listen to and to read my blogs again; Klaus from Germany who was a great support to the family in the post tsunami traumatic times; nephews and neices who have found me on the blog and asked “Are you my Chulie Nandi?” …. and many more. such interesting virtual encounters.  Happy too that a couple of stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines.

So, my friends,  thanks again, wherever you are and do stay, and keep reading. The following stats are reproduced here with many thanks to WordPress — 3 more months to go for this year and I am looking forward to more blogging. Focus will be more on local history and travel stories. Do click on the Follow link on the blog and as always look forward to hearing from you.

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Happy 4th July, American Friends

Happy memories of street clicks in Washington DC.

The 45 words that form the cornerstone of Democracy , rendered larger than life in a 74 foot-tall marble tablet at the entrance to the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC. Photograph © Chulie de Silva

The 45 words that form the cornerstone of Democracy , rendered larger than life in a 74 foot-tall marble tablet at the entrance to the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC. Photograph © Chulie de Silva

I was lucky to have a friend Delores Boyer, who would check what was on, and guide me to see Washington. As she drove, I clicked when she stopped at a traffic light or just through the window.

Photograph © Chulie de Silva

Photograph © Chulie de Silva

Photograph © Chulie de Silva

Photograph © Chulie de Silva

Over the years, she introduced me to several exhibitions, museums, guiding me through a mind boggling array of art work and sculpture.

For a museum freak like me some pieces remain engraved in my memory.  Degas little ballerina is an eternal favourites. So many years later  it still stirs such emotions as you see this statue and read the story behind the work . …

“At the sixth impressionist exhibition in the spring of 1881, Edgar Degas presented the only sculpture that he would ever exhibit in public. The Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, the title given by the artist, has become one of the most beloved works of art, well known through the many bronze casts produced from this unique original statuette after the artist’s death.”

Degas 14 year old little ballerina. Photographs© Chulie de Silva @ National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. May 2008

Degas 14 year old little ballerina. Photographs© Chulie de Silva @ National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. May 2008

And then there was the famous Dale Chihuly’s glass boat.

Chihuly Glass on a boat Botanical Gardens, Washington. Photograph © Chulie de Silva

Chihuly Glass on a boat Botanical Gardens, Washington. Photograph © Chulie de Silva

The botanical gardens with spring flowers in bloom was such a treat.

Connecting across the globe -- A charming lady I stopped to chat at the Botanical Gardens. Photograph © Chulie de Silva

Connecting across the globe — A charming lady I stopped to chat at the Botanical Gardens. Photograph © Chulie de Silva

Delores would sometimes sit and read, while I wandered around trying to capture the ambiance of a place.

National Gallery of Art, Washington. Photograph © Chulie de Silva

A favourite haunt — The National Gallery of Art, Washington. Photograph © Chulie de Silva

Photograph © Chulie de Silva

Photograph © Chulie de Silva

Thanks to Delores and many of my other friends too for the great memories. Have a Happy 4th July!

Degas’ Fourteen Year Old Little Dancer

 

degar-little-dancer-1dsc_0113

Degas Little Dancer. The All time favourite blog with readers. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

For a museum freak like me some pieces stick in your mind and become eternal favourites.  Degas little ballerina is one such piece. So many years later  it stirs in you such emotions as you see this statue and read the story behind the work . …

“At the sixth impressionist exhibition in the spring of 1881, Edgar Degas presented the only sculpture that he would ever exhibit in public. The Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, the title given by the artist, has become one of the most beloved works of art, well known through the many bronze casts produced from this unique original statuette after the artist’s death.”

She was not so warmly received when she first appeared. The critics protested almost unanimously that she was ugly, but had to acknowledge the work’s astonishing realism as well as its revolutionary nature. The mixed media of the Little Dancer, basically a wax statuette dressed in real clothes, was very innovative, most of all because she was a “modern subject”: a student dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet.

Marie van Goethen, the model for the figure, was the daughter of a Belgian tailor and a laundress; her working-class background was typical of the Paris Opera school’s ballerinas. These dancers were known as “rats de l’opéra,”  literally opera rats, presumably because of the scurrying around the stage in tiny fast-moving steps. But the derogatory association of rats with dirt and sewage is unavoidable. Though privileged as a servant of art, the Little Dancer was viewed in morally unfavorable terms by her contemporaries.

degar-dancer-2dsc_01041

Young, pretty, and poor, the ballet students were understood as potential targets of male “protectors.” Degas understood the predicament of the Little Dancer — what the contemporary reviewer Joris-Karl Huysmans called her “terrible reality.” The Little Dancer is a very poignant, deeply felt work of art in which a little girl of fourteen, in spite of the difficult position in which she is placed, both physically and psychologically, struggles for a measure of dignity: her head is held high, though her arms and hands are uncomfortably stretched behind her back.

In the context of the evolution of sculpture, the Little Dancer is a groundbreaking work of art. The liberating idea that any medium or technique necessary to convey the desired effect is fair game may be traced back to this sculpture. Degas represented a working-class subject, though not an everyday one, with both realism and compassion, but without moralizing. In so doing, he captured with brilliant simplicity the difficult tension between art and life.

Text from http://www.nga.gov/collection/sculpture/noflash/zone3-1.htm

Photographs© Chulie de Silva @ National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. May 2008