Pakistan’s High Commissioner inaugurates Exhibition of the Contemporary Sri Lankan Art in Colombo

Feb 28, Colombo: The High Commissioner of Pakistan to Sri Lanka, Ms. Seema Illahi Baloch, inaugurated the Exhibition of Contemporary Sri Lankan Art Tuesday at the National Arts Gallery in Colombo.

The week long Exhibition, opened from Tuesday 28th February to Sunday 04th March will be featuring 101 paintings, and a number of sculptures and art pieces of New Artists (Nawa Kalakaruwo) from Sri Lanka.

The Nawa Kalakaruwo Exhibition is organized by the George Keyt Foundation with the sponsorship of Brown Company.

In her opening remarks the High Commissioner of Pakistan said that with such artists, Sri Lanka can look forward to a very interesting and bright future full of surprises and even great works. The artists exhibiting in the Nawa Kalakaruwo exhibitions have struck out on new and interesting paths and their handling of the medium, the conception and imaginative richness show exceptionally high levels of confidence and versatility, she added.

Following is the Text of the High Commissioner’s Speech:

I have always wondered what is it that draws us to works of arts and why is it that some of us are more attracted to certain kinds of paintings or certain pieces of art.

A saying by Oscar Wilde addressed this curiosity : “art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known”. Therefore, just as art is one individuals creation, it reaches out and touches the chords of another individuals imagination and becomes a personal conversation. And that is why some individuals are attracted to certain kinds of art.

An artist like George Keyt is, therefore, a gift to Sri Lanka and has left a great tradition in his individual form of art.

But the greatest gift to Sri Lanka is the George Keyt Foundation which is providing a platform to young artists for their growth and development and providing an opportunity for networking with others.

The greatest artists, be it in our part of the world, or in any other, have struggled during their life times. Such a foundation is indeed a blessing for the young and struggling artists to nurture their talent and finds venues to display that talent.

The greatest fear of any one and especially of a young artist is the fear of failure but as Julia Carman has said “as you move towards a dream, the dream moves towards you”. To all the young artists present here tonight, I say; have the courage to follow your dream. If you have made it to this Gallery tonight you are surely on a path where greater recognition awaits you.

In Pakistan too there are a number of talented young artists emerging from our Universities and art collages. I hope that one day in this art gallery we can have a collective exhibition of young artists from our two countries. We hope that the George Keyt Foundation can take such an initiative. This would be the next step of the MoU signed between the Sri Lankas University of Visual and Performing Art and the National College of Arts in Pakistan during our Presidents visit to Sri Lanka in 2010.

May I conclude by saying that it is indeed a great privilege and an honour to be here this evening and to have the opportunity to be inspired by the works of so many young and talented artists of this beautiful country, Sri Lanka, I wish you well.”

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