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Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: Anuradha Dullewe Wijeyeratne.
Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: Anuradha Dullewe Wijeyeratne.

Sri Lanka’s First Modern and Contemporary Art Museum to Open in December

Sri Lanka is planning to open its first museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art next month.The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka, which has been three years in the making, began as a privately funded venture. In 2016, a nonprofit organization was founded to support the project, and a committee of international curators, arts professionals, and industry leaders was formed. The institution will be temporarily housed on the seventeenth floor of the Colombo Innovation Tower (CIT) in the commercial capital of Sri Lanka and will begin welcoming visitors on December 12.

“While the museums of Sri Lanka have sought to serve the past, they have done so at the exclusion of our modern and contemporary histories,” said Ajit Gunewardene, chair of the new institution’s founding committee. “Museums are now striving to be places where all sections of society can be reflected in a museum’s collections, displays, and educational programming. Sri Lanka’s rich historic culture underscores the way in which the island can lead the way in the region as a modern and contemporary museum destination.”

Other members of the founding committee include Shiromal Cooray, chair of Jetwing Hotels and Jetwing Travels; architect Channa Daswatte, partner at MICD Associates; Sujatha Arundathi Meegama, assistant professor of the School of Art, Design, and Media at Nanyang Technical University, Singapore; Sharmini Pereira, cofounder and director of the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture, and Design; Suhanya Raffel, executive director of the M+ museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong; and artist and curator Michael Snelling, former director of the National Art School, Sydney.

In addition to presenting a rotating series of exhibitions and educational programming, the museum will work to build its own permanent collection of modern and contemporary art and will spearhead conservation efforts for the artistic community. The institution will be inaugurated with an exhibition titled “one hundred thousand small tales.” Curated by Sharmini Pereira, the show was first presented at the Dhaka Art Summit in February 2018.