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Colombo comes alive with Kala Pola 2016


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By Shannine Daniel

Sri Lanka’s internationally-acclaimed open-air art fair, Kala Pola, will take place on 31 January along Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo. 

Kala Pola is presented by The George Keyt Foundation in association with the John Keells Group and this is to be the 23rd art exhibition, since its inception in 1993.

The one day, un-curated exhibition will open at 8.00 am and will continue until 9.00 pm the same night. Now a top tourist attraction, Kala Pola is expected to attract several thousands of visitors from all over the country and from different parts of the world.

Presented by The George Keyt Foundation, Kala Pola has continued to enjoy the generous patronage and strong partnership of the John Keells Group over the past 22 years under its corporate social responsibility programme which is committed to supporting the development and promotion of culture and the arts in Sri Lanka.  

Speaking about the importance of Kala Pola, John Keells Holdings PLC Head of CSR Nadija Tambiah emphasised that it is an important launch pad for artists and sculptors to embark on and build their careers, and it has succeeded in launching several artists at both national and international levels. 

“Over the years we’ve seen how Kala Pola has been an opportunity for artists to see, learn and grow. It provides a chance for artists to learn from one another and enables society at large to appreciate local art, thus fostering Sri Lankan art in a multitude of styles and genres,” she further stated.

“Kala Pola has played a significant role these past two decades in creating a greater appreciation of art among the Sri Lankan public,” added George Keyt Foundation Chairman Cedric de Silva.

“In addition to promoting the creation and appreciation of good art, Kala Pola is also a very good source of income for the artists,” he opined.  

Last year Rs. 30 million was generated through the sale of artwork at Kala Pola. This year the exhibition will also grant many additional opportunities for artists since several curators from an international chain of galleries may visit. 

The John Keells Foundation meanwhile continues to host Sri Lanka’s first and only corporate digital art gallery www.srilankanartgallery.com enabling Sri Lankan artists to showcase and sell their work throughout the year to local and foreign buyers. 

The main website, Sri Lankan Art Gallery, also hosts the ‘John Keells Art Gallery’ which is a platform for a collection of curated art, selected by a panel of curators who are experts in their field. The curated site thus provides an aspirational element to the artists who are registered on the Sri Lankan Art Gallery as they are able to benchmark their work against the curated selections for their own development and growth.  

As always, Kala Pola is free of charge and open to the public while participation charges are minimal. 

Throughout the years roughly 5,000 artists have showcased their artwork at Kala Pola. 

“Records show us that the numbers of artists and visitors have grown exponentially and this year too we expect a very large turnout,” De Silva further commented.

-Pix by Nirmala Dananjaya 


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