Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)

Ena’s crafts make come­back for Bawa cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions


De Silva + Bawa: Craft + Ar­chi­tec­ture, an ex­hi­bi­tion of Ena de Silva-de­signed batik and craft pro­duced in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ge­of­frey Bawa for his most iconic ar­chi­tec­tural projects, will be open to the pub­lic from Jan­uary 23 to Fe­bru­ary 4, in the Ur­ban Is­land Artspace, 181 Dharma­pala Mawatha, Colombo 7.

The ex­hi­bi­tion has been timed to com­ple­ment the cel­e­bra­tions un­der­way for “Bawa 100”( Bawa’s birth cen­te­nary) as Ena de Silva was a col­lab­o­ra­tor, peer and friend of the leg­endary ar­chi­tect. Ex­hi­bi­tion cu­ra­tor Amila de Mel said, “We are de­lighted to cel­e­brate the work of Ena de Silva and her ex­tra­or­di­nary ar­ti­sans. Not every­one re­al­izes the ex­tent to which su­perb craft, par­tic­u­larly that of Ms de Silva, was in­te­grated into Mr Bawa’s ar­chi­tec­tural vi­sion. And this creative col­lab­o­ra­tion has in­flu­enced the next gen­er­a­tion of Sri Lankan ar­chi­tects.”

More gen­er­ally, “De Silva + Bawa” will cel­e­brate the vir­tu­os­ity and rich­ness of the work pro­duced by Ms de Silva and the artisan co­op­er­a­tives she founded in Aluwi­hare.

Ena de Silva (1922 - 2015) was an out­stand­ing Sri Lankan artist and de­signer, par­tic­u­larly noted for her lead­ing role in de­vel­op­ing Sri Lanka’s con­tem­po­rary batik in­dus­try. She first worked with Ge­of­frey Bawa in 1960 af­ter she and her hus­band ap­proached the ar­chi­tect to de­sign a house for them in Colombo. She sub­se­quently de­vel­oped a long-term pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ship with

Mr Bawa which in­cluded de­sign­ing batik flags and ceil­ing and wall pan­els for his build­ings amongst other things. Ms de Silva es­tab­lished the Matale Her­itage Cen­tre, a co­op­er­a­tive of highly tal­ented ar­ti­sans, in 1964. The co­op­er­a­tive (now called the Aluwi­hare Her­itage Cen­tre) con­tin­ues to op­er­ate pro­duc­ing ex­quis­ite batik and other hand­made items.

Gen­eral Man­ager of Ur­ban Is­land Ishara Wi­je­manne said, “A wide range of Ena de Silva de­signed items will be on dis­play in­clud­ing ceil­ing and wall pan­els, flags, cloth­ing, table­ware, sculp­tures, and wood and metal ar­ti­facts pro­duced for ma­jor ar­chi­tec­tural projects. We are grate­ful to the var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions that have loaned us pieces for dis­play.”

“Ur­ban Is­land is de­lighted to host this ex­hi­bi­tion as it very much fits in with our com­mit­ment to pro­mot­ing the very best of Sri Lankan de­sign and craft,” she added.

A con­sor­tium of pub­lic and pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tions com­mit­ted to pro­mot­ing Sri Lanka’s cul­tural her­itage and nur­tur­ing de­sign and craft tal­ent are be­hind the ex­hi­bi­tion. These or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clude ADM Ar­chi­tects Colombo, AOD De­sign Academy, Cin­na­mon Ho­tels, De­sign for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Foun­da­tion (DFSD), the Aluwi­hare Her­itage Cen­tre, the Ge­of­frey Bawa Trust, Cin­na­mon Life, John Keells Foun­da­tion, Lunuganga Trust, and Ur­ban Is­land.

 ??  ?? Work of art: Ena’s ceil­ing batik de­signed for the Ben­tota Beach Ho­tel
Work of art: Ena’s ceil­ing batik de­signed for the Ben­tota Beach Ho­tel
 ??  ?? Ena de Silva: Out­stand­ing artist and de­signer. Pic by David Rob­son
Ena de Silva: Out­stand­ing artist and de­signer. Pic by David Rob­son

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