George Keyt (1902-1993) has been acknowledged as Sri Lanka’s most renowned and celebrated modern painter. He was born in Kandy to a family of Sinhalese-Dutch origin. He developed a passion for art, literature, and music during his schooling at Trinity College. Keyt's early works showcased observations of nature, including the lush Udawattakele forest reserve in Kandy and Sangharaja Pirivena temple. His distinctive style featured enlarged almond-shaped eyes and bold, crisp lines, often portraying nudes, village scenes, and Hindu-Buddhist mythologies. Keyt was strongly influenced by cubist experiments in perspective, and he applied them in a way that was distinctly his own, drawing specifically from Indian artistic traditions.

Keyt became a vital member of the '43 Group, contributing significantly to Sri Lanka's art movement. Inspired by Indian and Sri Lankan traditions, he crafted the artistic masterpiece, Gotami Vihara, blending stone sculpture techniques into wall paintings. His unique ability to merge Eastern and Western influences set him apart. Exhibited at prestigious venues like ICA London, Keyt's work found a place in renowned institutions, including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum.

Keyt's artistic journey culminated in over thirty exhibitions and the posthumous release of a stamp commemorating his birth centenary. He passed away in Colombo in 1993, leaving behind a legacy of innovative artistic fusion and a profound impact on Sri Lankan artistry.

Expand to see all

Our Partners