The first set of murals (1962)
Painter: G A Peiris
The first set of murals was painted in 1962 by Mr G A Peiris, a long-time member and loyal supporter of Ven. Mahaweera. A pioneer and founder member at Mangala Vihara, Peiris also served in the Management Committee for several years.
The second set of murals (1985)
Painters: Thilakaratne & Munasinghe
By 1984, the Peiris murals were fading and two Sri Lankan artists, Ananda N Thilakaratne and Munasinghe Abyenanda, were commissioned to repaint the murals.
The painters completed the 122 paintings in about four months. The Opening Ceremony was held on Vesak eve, 3 May 1965.
The third set of murals (1995)
Painters: Jayasiri, Karunasena & Wimalasiri
The new Shrine Hall was completed in 1994. Renowned artist, Jayasiri Semage, and his two assistants, W.A. Karunasena and S.D. Wimalasiri, painted the murals in the new Shrine Hall building at the end of 1994.
The major project covered a larger area of the new Shrine Hall. The 300-sq metre ceiling was painted with huge 9-metre diameter lotus motifs. Other paintings on Jataka stories and ten perfections of the Buddha are on the second and third floor. The third floor Buddhist decorative motifs give viewers a treat of traditional Buddhist art.
The painters used the Ajanta-Sigiri tradition of painting, applying the most advanced colouring techniques with acrylic paints and conventional oil paints to assure durability.
The murals were completed in nine months, three months ahead of time. An opening ceremony for the murals was held on 6 August 1995.
Jayasiri Murals – A Rare Visual Treat
The Jayasiri murals present a visual treat like no other. On entering the main Shrine Hall, the sheer colours and complexity of the murals rendered are captivating. From the stories on the life of Buddha to Jataka tales to the Kaleidoscopic arrangements of the Buddhist art motifs, they are a delight to visitors.
The murals, a part of the growth of Mangala Vihara, provides essential learning aids to the teachers and students of the Sunday classes and a visual treat to all visitors. They are very much an icon of Managala Vihara and an opportunity to those appreciative of rare Buddhist art.
by Leong Kum Seng