Conceiving Spaces

The fourth instalment of the Colombo Art Biennale (CAB) runs this December, the most significant contemporary art festival in Sri Lanka. Established seven years ago, the event showcases contemporary art, with an emphasis on Sri Lanka and the South Asian region. CAB this year is focused on Conceiving Space, the exhibition presenting the work of 64 local and international artists who have responded to the central theme; the show consists of work from 20 emerging practitioners, three successful local artists, 11 international architects and five university student groups from across the globe. Performance is also featured as part of the Biennale, with 17 displays from Theertha Performance Platform, Sri Lanka. CAB celebrates a variety of artistic disciplines including visual multimedia installation, architects working as artists, and performance, for the expression of the central ideal, held at over ten different sites around the city.

The Biennale, curated by Almoor Mitha, seeks to provide opportunities for artistic expression and creative production, with the focus of the event taking root in the theme of Conceiving Space. This foundational concept to the exhibitions allows both artists and visitors alike to explore diverse senses of space. CAB feature artists such as Priyantha Udagedara, Mithu Sen, Naiza Khan, Cristina Rodrigues, and Asvajit Boyle.

CAB’s focus on local artists as well as those who are internationally renowned is central to the vision of the 2016 chapter, there exists a vision for the establishment of a dialogue between native and global artists. Mitha notes: “My ultimate vision is to create a South Asian Artistic Hub in Colombo that is inspirational – an artistic journey that captivates the imagination whilst exploring new ideas with young people, and with the local communities who live in Sri Lanka whilst welcoming international delegates. At the end of the day, art is transformative; it brings smiles to many faces and challenges the cerebral mindset.”

As part of the event numerous community engagement and education outreach projects are occurring both before, throughout, and beyond the festival. Community members of Slave Island, Colombo, produce work with recognised artists and architects, programmes run by Mullegema Art Centre, Theertha Performance Platform and the Collective of Contemporary Artists also feature.

The Colombo Art Biennale, 2016. 2-22 December.  Find out more:

1. Cristina Rodriguez Exhibition (2016). Courtesy of Colombo Art Biennale.