Have you ever wondered about the stories behind the beautiful artworks that adorn museums? Well, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka is on a mission to bring those stories to life! This special museum, located at Crescat Boulevard on 89 Galle Road, Colombo 03, is not just a place to see art; it’s a space where art comes alive for everyone.
In 2016, a group of creative minds, including artists, museum experts, and art lovers, formed a Founding Committee. Their goal? To create a space where modern and contemporary art from Sri Lanka could be celebrated, shared, and preserved. They believed that museums in the country should not only focus on the past but also embrace the rich histories of modern and contemporary arts.
Why is this museum different, you ask? Well, it’s not just a collection of artwork hanging on walls. It’s a place of learning and enjoyment, where everyone—schoolchildren, tourists, and the general public—are not just welcome but encouraged to be active participants in the museum’s decisions and activities.
Sharmini Pereira, the Chief Curator, says, “The Museum is a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible. Our aim is to excite visitors, be they schoolchildren, tourists, or the general public, the moment they step into the space so that by the time they leave, they are thinking about their return visit.”
One exciting aspect is the focus on building a collection accessible to the public. The museum recognizes the urgent need to care for art, architecture, design, craft, moving image, and performance. They are working hard to create a sustainable collection, including cataloging, capacity building, establishing museum storage, and creating a collection policy.
But it’s not just about Colombo. The museum has its eyes set on preserving and exploring Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage. Take, for example, the Watapuluwa Housing Scheme in Kandy, completed in 1958. This unique housing project, designed by architect Minnette De Silva, was a pioneer in social housing. What makes it special? It was created with the participation of the people who would live there. ’88 Acres,’ an exhibition featuring a film by artists Irushi Tennekoon, Sumedha Kelegama, and Sumudu Athukorala, looks back at this housing scheme 65 years later. It reflects on De Silva’s influences and the challenges of her design approach, showing how it provided affordable accommodation for a diverse community of government public servants.
So, the next time you’re in Colombo, why not pay a visit to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka? It’s not just a museum; it’s a journey into the vibrant stories of art, history, and the people who shape them.