Thursday, 16th February 2012


11:00am – 12.30pm

Topic : ‘Why a Biennale? A conversation with the BECOMING 2012 Organisers.

Presented to the public by  Neil Butler, UK Co-Director CAB 2012 (Keynote), Roman Berka, Suresh Jeyaram – Curators, CAB 2012, Annoushka Hempel, Festival Founder & Director, Jagath Weerasinghe, Co-Director

An introductory talk also featuring the Biennale Curators – Roman Berka and Suresh Jeyaram – to set the scope of the range of works being presented and the topics covered in Talks to come.  Aimed at participating artists, students and the general public.

Venue: Park Street Hotel, Park Street, Colombo 2 (NOT TICKETED)


Gallery Talk

2.00 – 3.00pm

Topic “Critique versus Critcism”

Speaker: Leo Pasqualge, Artist BECOMING 2012

“Beware of the critic whose reputation depends on the power to impress the public with a semblance of knowledge, and the artist who attempts to do the same with skill and technical swagger” – An artists’ perspective

Venue: JDA Perera Gallery (NOT TICKETED)


4:00 – 6:00pm

Topic: Harry Peiris, The ’43 Group and the Sapumal Foundation 

Speakers: Rohan de Soysa, Chairman – Sapumal Foundation (Keynote), Artists Noeline Fernando and Prof.Sarath Chandrajeewa

A brief talk about the life of Harry Peiris, pre-eminently a portrait painter, who is best remembered for his dedication to the contemporary renascence of art forms in Sri Lanka, and his commitment to the task of keeping alive the energising vitality, and an essentially vivacious synthesis between East and West, which the ’43 Group –  that pre-eminent gathering of artists, George Keyt, Justin Daraniyagala, Ivan Peries, Harry Peiris, Geoffrey Beling, George Claessen, Aubrey Collette, LTP Manjusri and Richard Gabriel – represented at its quintessential best.

The Sapumal Foundation Collection is the legacy of Harry Pieris. It is, without doubt, the finest and most comprehensive collection of paintings in Sri Lanka and has all the qualities that go into the making of a National Collection.

Venue: Sapumal Foundation, 32/4 Barnes Place, Colombo 7

Friday, 17th February 2012


11:00am – 12.30pm

Topic : “Building Bridges – The South Asian Context”

Speaker: Suresh Jeyaram, Curator BECOMING 2012

“Sethu Samudram” is a three-year collaborative art project and a dialog-making platform between Theertha International Artists Collective, Colombo, Sri Lanka and 1Shanthi Road in Bangalore, India, bridging art, history and human relations. “Sethu Samudram” is the name of the mythical bridge found in Ramayana, meaning the bridge across the ocean. This bridge connects Sri Lanka and India.

Venue: Nuga Gama, Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo 3


Saturday 18th February 2012


11:00am – 12.30pm

Topic : “The Debate – Does great art require great skill?”

Panel: David Barbarino, Germany, Leo Pasqualge, Sri Lanka and Shahidul Alam, Bangladesh.

Venue: Barefoot Gallery, Galle Road, Colombo 3



2:30am – 4.00pm

Topic : “Art as a Witness”

Speaker: Shahidul Alam, Bangladesh

Faced with imposed situations of repression, cultural activists have had to find new ways of resistance. This has required documentation, articulation and tools of creative expression to deal with injustice in many forms.  By using both new and traditional media, as well as the networking ability of social media, lean and tenacious campaigns are formed that insisted on being heard and bent on achieving justice.

The presentation attempts to show how, by resisting not only the formal entities that have usurped power, but also the cultural norms that attempt to pigeon-hole cultural practice in terms of ‘fine art’, have tried to ensure that our ‘art’ does not limit itself to admiration in a gallery. It breathes the gunpowder laden air of street battles with police, the dank vapours of the factory floor and pervades the silence of patriarchal inner chambers.

Venue: Barefoot Gallery, Galle Road, Colombo 3



4:30 – 6:00pm

Topic : “Art and Architecture”

Speakers: Cecil Balmond & John Balmond, Balmond Studios, UK

Balmond Studio is a synthesis of art, architecture and structure.  Exploring a new sense of space through algorithms and an animation of geometry, the studio has produced award-winning projects.  Recent public artwork include the Star of Caledonia, won in an international competition, a large sculpture for the England and Scotland border, and a light installation sculpture in Alaska.  Cecil Balmond in collaboration with Anish Kapoor produced the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture for the London Olympics this year.  He has also worked on the very successful Serpentine Pavilions in London.  Cecil and John Balmond are setting up a studio workshop in Sri Lanka for work in the region.

Venue: Barefoot Gallery, Galle Road, Colombo 3


Sunday 19 February 2012


11:00 am – 12:30pm

Topic : “What now – after the ‘90s Trend?”

Speaker: Jagath Weerasinghe,Sri Lanka

Art of the 1990s marked a turning point in Sri Lankan modernist art. It brought in a narrative turn to the modernist art and pushed it beyond modernist aesthetics. In this presentation Jagath Weerasinghe will talk on this change and attempt at addressing the possibilities and limitations that the 90’s trend brought in.

Venue: CASA Colombo, Galle Road, Colombo 4



4.00 – 5.30pm

Topic : “Art and an expanded Museum Concept”

Speaker: Roman Berka, Museum In Progress, Vienna, Austria

Daily newspapers, magazines, billboards, television, information screens, building façades or the safety curtain in the Vienna State Opera House have been used temporarily for media- and site-specific contemporary art. Outside the walls of the traditional White Cube, Museum in Progress is active in a wide-ranging social environment and is devoted to an avant-garde concept of art that includes other social systems besides the traditional artistic milieu. In this way it elaborates on the artistic concepts of the 1960s and 1970s, creating a virtual “museum of the twenty-first century” that grows in the public sphere like a social sculpture. Philosophy, science, politics and other aspects of social life are reflected in the contributions, which encourage socially relevant discussion on the basis of an expanded conception of art.

Venue: SKKY Bar, 4th Floor, 42 Sir Mohamad Macan Markar Mw., Colombo 3



6.00 – 7.30pm

Topic : “Art as a Social Sculpture”

Speakers: Neil Butler, UK, Roman Berka, Austria, Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Sri Lanka, Suresh Jeyaram, India, Jagath Weerasinghe, Sri Lanka.

Bringing the Occupy Wall Street trends into perspective to a Sri Lankan audience in addition to wide political and religious / philosophical positions being embraced within the movement. Through this discourse, issues of the position of art and artists within politics and protest movements and the globalisation of those movements through social networking will be highlighted.

Venue: SKKY Bar, 4th Floor, 42 Sir Mohamad Macan Markar Mw., Colombo 3

Tickets to each talk: 500/= can be purchased at Satin Wilder, Galle Face Court, Barefoot Gallery, the CAB Box Office, Park Street Mews and Venue.