David Robson pens a critical review of a recent book by Shiromi Pinto that creates a fictional story based on a relationship between celebrated Sri Lankan architect Minnette De Silva and global architectural icon Le Corbusier.
The writer Shiromi Pinto has recently published her own fictionalised account of the life of Sri Lankan architect Minnette de Silva under the bizarre and inexplicable title ‘Plastic Emotions’. Apparently, in this Trumpian world of fake news and casual lies, it has become acceptable for writers to take the lives of real people and re-cast them to suit their own purposes. But can such cavalier distortions ever be justified if, along the way, the personality of the protagonist is distorted beyond recognition, if the people who surrounded her are pilloried, if her achievements devalued and her ideas misrepresented?
David Robson pens an empathetic memoir outlining the life and works of Sri Lanka’s two pioneering architects – a man by the name of Andrew Boyd and a lady by the name Minnette de Silva – in an attempt to restore their well-deserved place in the history of Modern Architecture from Sri Lanka and to bring into light their exceptional merit.
Born in Cornwall in 1905, Andrew Boyd was the son of an Indian Circuit Judge and experienced a typically dislocated Raj childhood, spending part of his childhood in India and part of it at school in England. His father encouraged him to join the tea business, and in 1927 arranged for him to become a tea taster with Liptons in Ceylon. There he was befriended by the photographer, Lionel Wendt, and moved in a circle which included the painter George Keyt and the poet/diplomat Pablo Neruda. Wendt kindled Boyd’s interest in photography and this in turn led him to architecture. Continue reading Andrew Boyd and Minnette de Silva→