Annoushka Hempel, B.A. SOAS, London; Founder & Director, Colombo Art Biennale
Annoushka was born in London where she attended the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London where she studied History of Art and Social Anthropology and achieved her BA Honours. She continued her love of the arts working with contemporary artists in London whilst researching for a book on African Art. Her work experience, then, led her to public relations and event management. Annoushka moved to Sri Lanka with her family nearly ten years ago when she set up and managed the first Art Gallery in Galle showcasing contemporary Sri Lankan artists. Subsequently, she founded the Colombo Art Biennale with Jagath Weerasinghe and directed the very first South Asian Art Biennale ‘Imagining Peace’ in 2009, collaborating with leading local curators, artists and art historians. ‘Imagining Peace’ successfully showcased the works of both established and emerging Sri Lankan artists alongside international artists, provoking the notion of artists as catalysts of change. www.hempelgalleries.com
Jagath Weerasinghe – Co-Founder & Curator, Colombo Art Biennale
Jagath is a Lecturer at the Art and Archeology University in Sri Lanka and is also a Founding Member & chairman of Theertha International Artist Collective. His received his education in visual arts at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka and the American University, Washington D.C. USA. He has been the main proponent in the idealogical shift in the approach to arts in the 1990s – now popularly referred to as the ’90s Art Trend’. He has shown his works extensively in Sri Lanka and internationally. Weerasinghe’s diverse interests allowed him to drift his attention to other related fields of art such as conservation of mural paintings. Presently a Professor of Archeology, his interventions in heritage management has been widely recognized. He lives and works in Sri Lanka. http://www.theertha.org/Red-Dot-Gallery
Chandraguptha Thenuwara – Artist. Head of Dept University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo
Chandraguptha is a leading Sri Lankan artist whose work focuses on issues surrounding the impact of war in Sri Lanka. In response to this overwhelming crisis he has devised his own stylistic formulation, which he has called ‘Barrelism’.
Chandraguptha studied painting at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, Colombo between1978-1981 and at the Moscow State Institute named after Surikhov, USSR between1985-1992. In 1993 he founded the Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts, an artist-run alternative art school and exhibition space.
Anoli Perera – Artist and Director of Theertha
Anoli Perera, artist, writer and cultural manager, has been part of the wave of artists in the 1990s who have professed a new ideological position in the art production in relation to the contemporary art knowledge and social context in Sri Lanka.
Her studies of Political Science, Economics and Sociology at the University of Colombo were followed by a postgraduate diploma in International Affairs from the Bandaranaike Center for International Studies. From 1988 to 1992 she lived in the USA, where she started her career as a visual artist. Largely self-taught she pursued her training in stone carving at the Artworks: The Visual Art School of Princeton for Continuing Education, New Jersey, USA. http://www.theertha.org/Red-Dot-Gallery
Nazreen Sansoni – Director, Barefoot Gallery
Nazreen Sansoni is responsible for the flow of books and art through Sri Lanka’s cultural hotspot – the Barefoot Gallery and Cafe. She is also a central figure in the de facto salon that gathers there and manages the myriad concerts, launches and events that fill the space. In this way Nazreen cultivates both the arts and the arts community. In addition to her duties as a Director, Curator, and Organizer she is an avid reader, traveller, photographer and mother of five. www.barefootceylon.com
Bjoern Ketels – Director, Goethe-Institut
Bjoern Ketels studied Linguistics and German Literature (MA) as well as Sociology, Political Science, and Pedagogics in Aachen and Bonn. Bjoern has been working with the Goethe-Institut since 2006. He has had two years training at the regional headquarters for Northern Africa, the Middle East in Cairo, Egypt before taking the post as director at the Goethe Institut in Khartoum, Sudan.
Bjoern has been the Director of the Goethe-Institut in Colombo since August 2010 and is a great supporter of the arts in Sri Lanka.
Radhika Hettiarachchi did her BA(Hons) in Communications and English at York University, Canada and her Masters of Science in Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science, U.K.
She has been involved in the development sector, conflict transformation and alternative methods of peacebuilding in Sri Lanka. She is the Curator of Colomboscope 2014, which is the sister festival of CAB and shares it’s theme of ‘Making History’.