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KALĀ in association with the Lionel Wendt Art Centre aims to provide a new annual platform that contributes to the sustainable development of art ecosystems within the Sri Lankan region and wider South Asia. KALĀ envisions fostering the growth of this event year after year, seamlessly integrating art projects and exhibitions across Sri Lanka with a diverse calendar of engaging talks, online panel discussions, and immersive workshops. KALĀ adopts a flexible and dynamic approach, encompassing a wide spectrum of artistic projects, ranging from non-profit programs to commercially-driven endeavors such as artist residencies, talks, workshops, and collaborative collectives.

The Lionel Wendt Art Centre was built in memory of Lionel Wendt, a pivotal figure in the art scene of the 1930-40s. Wendt pioneered what we know today as the modern and contemporary arts of Sri Lanka. His residence ‘Alborado’, where the Lionel Wendt Centre now stands, continues to be a home for the arts in Colombo. The Centre at present houses The Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, The Harold Peiris Gallery and The Lionel Wendt Theatre. Together, they host concerts, recitals, drama and dance performances;   exhibitions of painting, sculpture and installations;, as well as training and workshop programmes in the arts. It is one of the the only multi-purpose cultural centre of Colombo. The memorial centre in time became a place where the village came to town, and where the east meets west. Established in the 1950s, the Centre continues to be a platform for people who work in the arts and a source of fun and entertainment for the many more who have a passion for creativity and artistic pursuits.

Our Objectives

  • To showcase through art the diverse and rich cultural heritage of South Asia  to a global audience.
  • To provide a platform for emerging and established South Asian artists to showcase their work and connect with a wider community of art enthusiasts, collectors, and galleries.
  • To address the issue of inaccessibility of global platforms by offering a virtual and physical platform that is affordable and accessible to artists, galleries, and collectors from South Asia and the global diaspora.
  • To promote South Asian art as a viable and impactful sector that contributes to the cultural and economic development of the region and its global diaspora.
  • Given the growth in recognition globally for South Asian art this timely project aims to fill the gap for an event that merges art worlds from the region, connecting artist, patron, collector, curator and enthusiast.
  • To foster cross-cultural exchanges and collaborations between South Asian artists, with Sri Lanka as a centre and meeting point.

Our Team


Saskia Fernando

Founding Director

Saskia Fernando is a Sri Lankan gallerist and entrepreneur. She is best known for her pioneering work in developing the contemporary art scene in Sri Lanka and providing a platform for emerging artists to showcase their work to a wider audience. Saskia is the founder of the Saskia Fernando Gallery, which has become a hub for contemporary art and culture in Colombo. Saskia’s vision and passion for contemporary art have helped introduce Sri Lankan art to a global stage while cultivating a deep appreciation for the region’s rich artistic heritage. In addition to her work as a curator, Saskia is also an advocate for nurturing artistic talent and cultural exchange. She is committed to promoting Sri Lanka as a hub for cultural and artistic expression and has contributed to several initiatives aimed at developing local talent.

Sandhini Poddar

Curatorial Advisor

Sandhini Poddar is a London-based art historian and Adjunct Curator-at-Large at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project. With a profound understanding of South Asian modern and contemporary art, she has played a pivotal role in shaping discourse surrounding art from the region, both in India and internationally. Her academic background, combined with her professional experience over the past twenty years, has made her a recognised authority in the field. Throughout her career, Sandhini has curated numerous impactful exhibitions that have garnered critical acclaim. She has showcased the works of established and emerging artists from South Asia and the diaspora, exploring a diverse range of themes and perspectives. Her exhibitions have opened new chapters in Asian art history.

Mariyam Begum

Assistant Curator

Mariyam Begum is a Curator, Archivist and Researcher. Her focus lies in the exploration of ecology and language in South Asian art. She has curated exhibitions featuring Sri Lankan contemporary practitioners and ongoing archival projects include the Udayshanth Fernando collection as well as the archives of HA Karunaratne, Chandraguptha Thenuwara and Jagath Weerasinghe. Mariyam holds a Master’s in Art History from Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati (Santiniketan), India.

Sulakshi Ratnayake

Programming Assistant

Harin Katipearachchi

Content Creator

Nathalie Johnston

Art Writer

The Lionel Wendt Centre for the Arts is owned by the Lionel Wendt Memorial Fund (LWMF), a non-profit, charitable trust with no state funding, and managed by a Board of Trustees who serve in a voluntary capacity. Inaugurated in 1945 and incorporated in 1949 by an Act of Parliament, the LWMF is the official custodian of the legacy of Lionel Wendt. Established in memory of Lionel Wendt (1900-1944) for the development and promotion of the arts, the Lionel Wendt Memorial Centre was built in order to create spaces for exhibitions, concerts, recitals, theatrical and dance performances as well as and providing opportunities for classes in art, music, drama and photography. Over the years, the Centre has launched numerous artists and theatre personalities – it is the benchmark cultural venue in Colombo, particularly for stage drama. Since its inception in 1953, the Centre has been instrumental in hosting the best of Sri Lanka’s theatre, music and art with the longest history of cutting edge and popular theatre and musical production in the country. The adjoining Lionel Wendt Gallery opened in 1959 and hosts exhibitions by the country’s best artists and sculptors. The Lionel Wendt Centre is the much-loved home of artists and performers.

Mr. Ranil Pieris

LWMF Trustee

Mr. Ranil De Silva

LWMF Trustee

Mr. Thivanka Jayasinghe

LWMF Trustee

Mr. Arosha Perera

LWMF Trustee

Mrs. Ayomi Aluwihare

LWMF Trustee

Mr. Jerome De Silva

LWMF Trustee

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