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March 8, 2024

Art and Travel: Exploring Modern Art on a Sri Lankan Adventure

Are you an art enthusiast who is looking for an unforgettable travel experience? Look no further than the paradise island of Sri Lanka; known for its captivating natural beauty, fascinating history as well as wonderful ocean waves that are perfect for surfing. This little island is also home to a burgeoning art scene. Traditional forms of art such as frescoes, wood carvings, colorful batik textiles and mesmerizing Kandyan dance has laid a strong foundation for the blossoming of contemporary art in the country.

Modern art in Sri Lanka has evolved over the years with artists having embraced various mediums and styles to showcase diversity and creativity. A significant contributor to such efforts is “The 43 Group”. Founded in Colombo in 1934, this collective was pioneered by renowned artists of the time, such as George Keyt, Lionel Wendt, Harry Peiris as well as Ivan Pieris. All of whom featured work that were Sri Lankan interpretations of European modernism. To take a closer look; George Keyt’s work was colored by European movements such as cubism as well as Henri Matisse style of painting, coupled with characteristics of Buddhist and Hindu iconography of his hometown Kandy. Similarly, Lionel Wendt, a dynamic personality who was a pianist, photographer, literature collector, critic and cinematographer used European techniques to bring out the richness of Sri Lankan life.

Coming to the now of the modern art scene in the island, the field is dominated by esteemed artists such as Anoma Wijewardene who has the singular honor of being the first Sri Lankan to be invited to show her work in a solo exhibition at the 58th Venice Biennale. She is known for her skill and capacity to be original and draws inspiration from concepts of climate change and sustainability. She also engages with scientists, activists, and political gurus to create her multi-faceted work that brings forth strong meaning in a social context.

Such a plethora of talent is readily discoverable throughout the numerous art galleries and studios scattered across the country. From the bustling streets of Colombo to the tranquil hills of Kandy are showcased the wonderful work of local talent. On an endless list to choose from, some stops you may make are The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Lionel Wendt Art Centre, Saskia Fernando Gallery, Sapumal Foundation as well as Theertha International Artists Collective. There are many other hidden gems that are also worth a leisurely exploration.

Amongst, these stops, The Wall Art Street has become a trendy place for the youth to frequent where the Kaleidoscope of art adorning the sides of Green Path can be admired. This colorful world created by street artists and local craftsmen include abstract paintings, multi-frame wall art, oil paintings and other work such as woodwork and metal work, that beckon on-lookers for closer inspection.

Why only marvel at the beauty of art, when you can immerse yourself in this amazing process of creativity. Consider participating in art workshops and residencies offered by local artists and organizations. Whether you are a seasoned artist or a novice enthusiast you will be able to explore your own artistic expressions while creating a unique memoir to remember your travels by. So come and embrace the art of a local culture and embark on your next adventure in Sri Lanka to feed your soul and expand your horizons.

Category: Travel
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