Anoli Perera

Art from the Tropics in Colombo

Colombo is Sri Lanka's financial capital and the epicenter of contemporary cultural life in the country. Twenty years of ethnic war has marked its life and globalization has changed its cultural environment absorbing and fusing the international and the local in interesting ways. We will show you some of the best radical art and next generation architecture that came out of the melting pot of over 600 years under the colonial regime of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British.


Anoli Perera - Photo by Sasanka Perera Anoli Perera

With: Anoli Perera

I'm your guide Anoli. I'm a self taught artist with an interest in painting, sculpture, installation, and object art. Together with Lalith Manage, an IT trained artist, and the arts manager at Theertha, we will update you on the latest events.

Radical art

I'd like to invite you to my organisation, Theertha. This is an artist’s run initiative where you will meet the most radical artists. You will also get to see the exhibition at their Red Dot Gallery, an alternative art space that encourages experimental and innovative art. Theertha also holds an archive where you can study contemporary art and learn more about Sri Lankan visual art history.


The Sri Lankan ‘Hopper’ meal at the Penisular. This restaurant is boasting the Jaffna cuisine from the primary town of north Sri Lanka that was heavily effected by ethnic war.

Art art art

Meet my friend, Thisath Thoradeniya, who will take you on an art journey. He is is a young artists who is working with contemporary urban material.

The Sapumal Foundation. This former artist studio turned into a museum that holds the Sri Lankan modernist art of the 43 group; the avant-garde group that ushered in ideas of modernism in the mid 20th century. Over a coffee learn more about Thisath Thoradeniya. Next you will be gallery hopping. The Harold Peiris Gallery, the Lionel Wendt Gallery and the Sashkia Fernando Gallery are on the agenda. You will taste a typical Sri Lankan food at the Green Cabin that offers a rice and curry buffet.

The architects

Meet my friend Hiranthi Welendawa. She is a new generation architect who has had her training in Finnland. She will give you a brief account of her work and the two of you can have a talk about contemporary Sri Lankan architecture and build space and interior design. After that, you will probably need a proper lunch. Take the rest of the day to walk around the city and see the architecture in action. If you are up to it, you could end the day with a nice long drink at ‘Zanzibar’, enjoying a live jazz performance.

The radicals

Meet my friend, artist and art theorist Jagath Weerasinghe. This key figure is known as one of the people that introduced social criticism to the arts in Sri Lanka. You will have the privilege of seeing his latest work.

Barefoot also has a nice galley where it presents visual arts, drama, music and poetry and a shop that sells mostly crafts. Have a look to see if there is anything you want to take home to remember ‘Taprobane’, the name ancient travellers used to refer to Sri Lanka.

If you are looking for a quick and convenient way to go around city, use the three wheeled taxi Try Shaw. The minimum you pay is 1 euro, the rest you negotiate. Always negotiate, nobody has a meter running.

Dutch Museum
Wolfendhal Church
St Lucia’s Cathedral
Sri Siva Subramania Swami Kovil
National Museum

Food & drinks
Barrista Coffee shop
Green Cabin
Barefoot café

Dinner in a well established restaurant will cost you 10 euro, go to a less fancy place and pay only 1 or 2...

Ticket: 1100 euro
Hotel: 55 euro / night
Guide: 45 euro