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Kala Pola celebrates 25 years of street art mart in Sri Lanka

The much-anticipated silver jubilee edition of Sri Lanka’s renowned open-air art fair – Kala Pola – unveils on Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha in Colombo 07, on Sunday, 25th February 2018 under the distinguished patronage of H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka.

Presented by The George Keyt Foundation in association with John Keells Holdings PLC, Kala Pola has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1993. Exhibiting 35 artists at its first ever event, which was viewed by the iconic Sri Lankan artist George Keyt himself, this year’s silver jubilee celebration will see over 300 artists and sculptors from all parts of Sri Lanka converge in Colombo to enjoy the patronage and appreciation of thousands of visitors throughout the day from 8.00 am till 9.00 pm.

Over the past quarter of a century, Kala Pola has grown to become a major cultural hub and tourist attraction in Colombo, both locally and internationally. It is the only such art fair of this nature and magnitude, thus making it an important event in Sri Lanka’s annual cultural calendar.

Celebrations also include cultural entertainment towards late evening. Entrance to the fair is free with the entire street bursting in a riot of colour. The collective artistic talent in this Silver Jubilee year is expected to outshine all previous fairs, given the unprecedented interest of artists and the growing nature of standards achieved with each passing year.

Focused on showcasing and promoting Sri Lankan art, Kala Pola has primarily functioned as a platform for painters and sculptors of all kinds to showcase their work. It also provides lucrative opportunities and networking possibilities among artists and an ever-appreciative audience that has been bourgeoning over the years. Similarly, Kala Pola has, on numerous occasions, been a launch pad for local artists to gain recognition and propel their work into the international arena.

The George Keyt Foundation (GKF) was established in1988, to foster the local visual arts and artists. GKF showcased a landmark collection of fourteen paintings and six drawings by George Keyt that was helped set up by John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH).

Kala Pola 2018 continues to enjoy the support and patronage of John Keells Foundation, which is JKH’s Corporate Social Responsibility entity.

Commenting on the Silver Jubilee Kala Pola, GKF Chairman Michael Anthonisz said, ‘It is with great honour and pride that we are celebrating and hosting the 25th anniversary of the Kala Pola. We are humbled at the levels of growth and success it has reached and the capacity in which it acts as a platform to support and promote local artists and the lucrative opportunities it provides. We sincerely thank John Keells for its sustained invaluable support over the last two decades”.

JKH’s Head of CSR Ms. Nadija Tambiah said that the John Keells Foundation was proud to be a part of this laudable exercise since its inception. “Kala Pola is the ideal and an effective platform that allows artists to work themselves towards their career goals while enriching our local art scene. With ‘Empowering the Nation Tomorrow’ as our vision, we are committed to supporting and developing the arts and culture in Sri Lanka’.

Drawing inspiration from the infectious and all-pervasive concept of open-air markets in Europe, notable Montmartre in Paris, Kala Pola has been a wonderful display of local talent, one which colours the street with its vibrant hues, bringing together art enthusiasts from all over Sri Lanka and beyond, to the heart of Colombo. For more information please visit www.kalapola.lk

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