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Community Engagement

Mullegama Art Centre Children’s Art Project for CAB 2016

Creative expression is often inspired by an artist’s surroundings and their engagement and understanding of the spaces they inhabit. In an age where, increasingly, many aspects of life are becoming concentrated within the confines of indoors and digital space, the art of understanding context through conversation, exploration, and observationcan often be sidelined.

In hopes of re-igniting the love of exploration and strengthening important interpersonal skills of the young, 2010 Sovereign Prize Winner Pala Pothupitiya, 2016 Sovereign Prize Finalist, Pradeep Thalwatte and coordinator Lalith Manage, with a collaboration of local artists, will lead an exciting, experiential 6 day workshop for 21 children. Participants hailing from the Mullegama Art Centre, Sri Palee Campus (University of Colombo), and from the communities within Slave Island, will explore popular and industrious, everyday walking routes as guided by the inhabitants of Slave Island. The inspiration gathered from observations and first- hand experience of the topography, industries, and community ties will be expressed in artistic form through paintings and sculptures –utilizing sketching, digital documentation, and scrap material gathered by students during these walks.

The unique sculptures and artwork depicting aspects of life in Slave Island as seen through a youngster’s eye, will be displayed throughout Slave Island during the Colombo Art Biennale.

This project is funded by the Sovereign Art Foundation, Hong Kong, which aims to provide recognition to the growing contemporary art talent in Asia, and bring proven benefits of art therapy to marginalized children.

Photo Credits: Mullegama Art Centre



PC_Mullegama Art Centre 6

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Moving out: An initiative by UZ Arts

You are invited to Moving Out 2016 on Saturday 26th November at Sunbeach Hotel, Galle Road, Hikkaduwa : www.sunbeachsurf.com


1 pm – 4 pm – Exhibition of sound works, land art, installation, print work and video

By the Sura Medura Artists:

Natasha Russell – Artist & Illustrator based in Edinburgh www.natasharussell.com

Sumit Sarkar – Visual Artist based in Manchester http://www.kriksix.com/

Nichola Scrutton – Composer and Sound Artist based in Glasgow www.nicholascrutton.co.uk

Stephen Hurrel – Video and Text Artist from Glasgow http://www.hurrelvisualarts.com/

Samson Ogiamien – Sculptor and Performer based in Graz, Austria http://www.ogiamien.at/

Martin Janicek – Sound Artist, Sculptor, Musician and Sound Designer from Czech Republic http://www.m-janicek.eu/


Special Guest Act

Rose Staff www.vjradiance.com

5 pm onwards – Reception

Meet and greet Sura Medura Director Neil Butler, Colombo Art Biennale Founder and Director Annoushka Hempel, Colombo Art Biennale Curator Alnoor Mitha and the Artists

7pm – Sunbeach’s Famous Sri Lankan Dinner Feast of Rice and 12 curries at Rs. 1,500 nett

Due to limited seat availability advance reservation are required. Reserve through info@sunbeachsurf.com before Thursday 24 November 2016.

Make a weekend of it : Sunbeach Hotel is offering special rates on room reservations over the weekend of the event contact info@sunbeachsurf.com for further details.

About Moving Out 2016

‘Moving Out’, an initiative by UZ Arts, was brought to life in 2014 by the Sura Medura International Artist Residency Program where participants presented their individual and collaborative work by way of a performing art festival.

The debut festival was executed in two phases: six artists from the disciplines of digital art, audio production and performance, street and theatre performance, sculpturing, set and costume design and architecture, in collaboration with the undergraduates of the Visual and Performing Arts University in Colombo, together with the Dodanduwa community exhibited their artistic knowledge exchange through a series of events held in Hikkaduwa and Colombo.

This year Moving Out will feature an exhibition of sound works, land art ,installation, print work and video by Artists from Edin & illustrator based in Edinburgh  – Natasha Russel, Visual Artist based in Manchester – Sumit Sarkar, Composer and Sound Artist based in Glasgow – Nichola Scrutton and special guest artist from Australia Rose Staff.

For further details and dinner reservations send in your inquiries to info@sunbeachsurf.com


About Sura Medura

The programme supports artists from all disciplines of art whose work can be enhanced by being made in Sri Lanka. Sura Medura has close contacts with the local and national artistic community. It provides mentorship in advance of the visit and support during the residency with introductions to their peers locally and in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city.














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Hotshoe – February 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, see Gallery Talk 16 February Critique versus Criticism

This looks like a timely talk topic and one that’s sure to get us all thinking about our roles – as both critics/reviewers and art producers. It’s also important to challenge the taste makers and gatekeepers in the arts, especially those who like to dazzle and, sometimes, befuddle with language games and (apparent) knowledge. Also, to the artists who place technical virtuosity above all else.

As part of Hotshoe Blog supporting the Colombo Art Biennale (CAB) 2012, The Roaming Eye (who has been travelling off shore looking at all creatures great and small) is delighted to share the talks and conversations scheduled for the festival. It’s an exciting and interesting line up with international and local artists and curators contributing to a diverse range of topics. The schedule is still evolving, so keep checking in as relevant updates will be posted. However, The Roaming Eye will be at the biennale for the 18 and 19 February and will be reporting from the festival, talking to some of the photographers and visual artists and attending a couple of the talks on those days.

Of particular interest to readers of this blog is photojournalist, activist, writer and curator Dr Shahidul Alam from Bangladesh. The Roaming Eye hopes to do a short interview with him for the blog, so look out for it as a short podcast especially if you’re unfamiliar with his work.

It’s always good to discover new things and search for fresh perspectives – one of the hallmarks of Hotshoe and its tagline. But we’re also aware that it’s easy to say we do it but the proof is in actually getting out there and doing it – not just saying we do. Otherwise, we’re just blowing hot air. Plus, in an increasingly global world, a global approach is needed to stave of Eurocentrism and Northern-America bias int he photography and arts worlds.

Thursday 16 February 2012
Session 1 – 11.00am – 12.30pm – “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)

Session 2 – 4.00 – 6.00pm – Harry Peris, The ’43 Group and the Sapumal Foundation.

Gallery Talk –  2.00 – 3.00pm –  “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)

Friday 17 February 2012
Session 1 – 11.00am – 12.30pm – “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 18 February 2012
Session 1 – 11.00am – 12.30pm – “The Debate – Does great art require great skill?”

Panel: Cecil Balmond UK/Sri Lanka, Shahidul Alam, Bangladesh and Biennale artists. Dr Shahidul Alam is a world-renowned photojournalist, activist and writer from Bangladesh who will be at the festival. His profile is on the CAB website 

Yes or No? an interactive debate on the benchmarks to becoming a great artist. The audience will be invited to vote.
Venue: Barefoot Gallery

Photo of Shahidul Alam

Session 2 – 2.30pm – 4.00pm – “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 chamber

Session 3 – 4.30pm – 6.00pm – “Art and Architecture”

Sunday 19 February
Session 1 – 11.00am – 12.30pm – “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

Session 2 – 4.00 – 5.30pm – “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

Session 3 – “Art as a Social Sculpture”

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museum in progress: February 2012


The unique project “mediation” takes place in the media room – in Sri Lanka is an absolute novelty. The curators of the Colombo Art Biennale (Sri Lanka), Roman Berka and Suresh Jayaram choose from 15 artists for an exhibition series in the newspaper Daily Mirror, Daily Financial Times and Sunday Times, whose art works specially for the exhibition in the newspaper medium designed or intended were .Their sphere of activity is not limited to an exclusive audience Biennale, but manifests itself in everyday life to the public. The Colombo Art Biennale is reacting, in continuation of its theme, “Becoming”, the avant-garde demands a mutual penetration of art and life.

The exhibition series before and during the biennial in the period from 01 to 19February 2012 and published as part of the main event (15th-19.2.2012) presented.In the Austrian daily Der Standard, the same series is shown. Through this extraordinary cultural cooperation, the two countries, Sri Lanka and Austria as well as their cultural spheres together. museum in progress, a window opens to the Colombo Art Biennale for an audience outside of Sri Lanka.

“Mediation” is a series of exhibitions of museum in progress in collaboration with theColombo Art Biennale 2012 – “BECOMING” , STANDARD , and the newspaper Daily Mirror , Daily Financial Times and Sunday Times , Sri Lanka.

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“Now Here”

UK artists Neil Butler and Maria McCavana have collaborated to create a work –  “Now here” inspired by the theme of Colombo Art Biennale’s “Becoming”.

They will invite the public to participate in creating an installation that plots where they have come from, where they wish to go and where they are now.

The work is created by the public each selecting an object that become an avatar representing them within the installation. Over the course of the Biennale the piece will grow as a cloud or constellation of information mapping  where the public who have participated find themselves at this point in their lives.

The work will be located at the VIP lounge at Park Street Mews
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Erik van Lieshout

The work is a handmade cut out text derived from the slogans one finds everywhere in shops seducing to get people in and to buy their goods. The text refers to consumerism and the implicit promise of the slogans being used to make people feel happy.

Erik van Lieshout is one of Holland’s most prominent artists and his provocative works treat sex, violence, politics, and commercial culture with equal humor, candor, and irreverence. He sets out on spirited journeys, turning whomever or whatever he encounters into subject matter for his social documentaries. His endless curiosity and his disarming personality encourage strangers to share their intimate feelings and politics openly with him. Trained as a painter, van Lieshout became well-known in the 1990s for his expressionistic canvases and large-scale drawings which merge graphic images of drugs, pornography, and street culture with a range of media figures including Burka-clad women, Batman, and Snoop Dogg. In 1997 van Lieshout began making the simply-crafted sculptures and video installations that now round out his multi-media practice. Van Lieshout places himself directly in the center of his videos using his experience as a crucible to interpret the complex psychology of a nation grappling with immigration, tolerance, colonialism, and sexuality.

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