Preserving today’s art, for the future


Sri Lanka has a long, rich and illustrious heritage in its past, which has been preserved to the best of the abilities of passionate archaeologists and many other individuals. However, it also has an extremely powerful and important modern cultural heritage, which took form over decades while under colonial control, and post-independence.

To preserve, document, and protect this rich modern cultural heritage is also important, and is something that the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) Sri Lanka is heavily involved in. One aspect of their mission is to make available priceless pieces of modern art and cultural heritage accessible to everyone in all three main languages spoken in Sri Lanka, free of charge.

In this effort to share modern art which would sometimes be limited to the eyes of a select few otherwise, the MMCA Sri Lanka has announced their second rotation of ‘Encounters’, an exhibition of art from some of the most iconic pieces of artwork from the 1950s to the present.

Ceylon Today had the privilege of visiting the MMCA’s gallery located at the Ground Floor of Crescat Boulevard to learn more about the exquisite works of art on display.

This rotation of Encounters features the work of notable artists; Gamini Ratnavira, Ismeth Raheem, Laki Senanayake and Firi Rahman.

The theme for this rotation discusses the relationship between man and the environment, and cleverly uses the development of two of Sri Lanka’s greatest modern works of architecture; the Habarana Lodge (now branded as Cinnamon Lodge Habarana) and Heritance Kandalama. Visitors will have the rare occasion to see Senanayake’s site plan of Heritance Kandalama, as well as concept art as the architectural design for the Habarana Lodge.

Additionally, visitors would be granted to see Ratnavira’s commissioned paintings of birds, all of which once adorned the walls of the many rooms of the lodge. Whilst previously, one would have to book every single room at the Habarana Lodge to witness the beauty and accuracy of the birds painted, all are now free to view for your appreciation at the MMCA’s gallery right now.

If you are visiting, we highly recommend you accept a guided tour, which would reveal a beautiful and inspirational story of design meets nature, and the value of each of the paintings now on display. Being able to appreciate works of art that would have otherwise been behind closed doors is simply amazing, and is an experience that shouldn’t be missed out on.

(Pix by Laksiri Rukman)

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage