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Kala Pola celebrates 25 years of street art in Sri Lanka

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 10 February 2018 00:00

The silver jubilee  celebration will see over 300 artists and sculptors converge  on green path

The much-anticipated silver jubilee edition of Sri Lanka’s renowned open-air art fair Kala Pola will be held at Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha in Colombo 7, on Sunday, 25 February, with Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu as Chief Guest.

Presented by The George Keyt Foundation, in association with John Keells Holdings PLC, Kala Pola has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1993. Exhibiting 35 artists at its first-ever event, which was viewed by the iconic Sri Lankan artist George Keyt himself, this year’s silver jubilee celebration will see over 300 artists and sculptors from all parts of Sri Lanka converge in Colombo to enjoy the patronage and appreciation of thousands of visitors throughout the day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Over the past quarter of a century, Kala Pola has grown to become a major cultural hub and tourist attraction in Colombo, both locally and internationally. It is the only such art fair of this nature and magnitude, thus making it an important event in Sri Lanka’s annual cultural calendar.

Celebrations also include cultural entertainment towards late evening. Entrance to the fair is free with the entire street bursting in a riot of colour. The collective artistic talent in this silver jubilee year is expected to outshine all previous fairs, given the unprecedented interest of artists and the growing nature of standards achieved with each passing year.

Focused on showcasing and promoting Sri Lankan art, Kala Pola has primarily functioned as a platform for painters and sculptors of all kinds to showcase their work. It also provides lucrative opportunities and networking possibilities among artists and an ever-appreciative audience that has been bourgeoning over the years.

Similarly, Kala Pola has on numerous occasions been a launch pad for local artists to gain recognition and propel their work into the international arena.

The George Keyt Foundation (GKF) was established in 1988, to foster the local visual arts and artists. GKF showcased a landmark collection of fourteen paintings and six drawings by George Keyt that was helped set up by John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH).

“It is with great honour and pride that we are celebrating and hosting the 25th anniversary of the Kala Pola. We are humbled at the levels of growth and success has reached and the capacity in which it acts as a platform to support and promote local artists and the lucrative opportunities it provides. We sincerely thank John Keells for its sustained invaluable support over the last two decades,” said GKF Chairman Michael Anthonisz.

Kala Pola 2018 also continues to enjoy the support and patronage of John Keells Foundation, which is JKH’s Corporate Social Responsibility entity. JKH Head of CSR Nadija Tambiah said that the John Keells Foundation was proud to be a part of this laudable exercise since its inception. “Kala Pola is an ideal and effective platform that allows artists to work towards their career goals while enriching our local art scene. With ‘Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow’ as our vision, we are committed to supporting and developing the arts and culture in Sri Lanka.

“We believe that there is a really inherent importance in using art to portray the development of our society, and we believe it is uniquely positioned to inspire, to raise questions, to provoke, and we really think that we need to see the use and understanding of art in provocative social discussions.”

Drawing inspiration from the infectious and all pervasive concept of open-air markets in Europe, notably the Montmartre in Paris, Kala Pola has been a wonderful display of local talent, one which colours the street with its vibrant hues, bringing together art enthusiasts from all over Sri Lanka and beyond, to the heart of Colombo. For more information please visit www.kalapola.lk.

Pix by Indraratne Balasuriya


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