Colombo: Running under the theme ‘Palettes of Modern Art’, the Lionel Wendt Festival of Art 2019 is set to take place from the 23rd to the 24th of February. Organized by the Lionel Wendt Memorial Fund, the festival will be a colourful celebration of Sri Lankan modern art featuring an eclectic mix of presentations, talks, and will include an exhibition, curated by Leo Art, an initiative by Leo Burnett Sri Lanka. The festival will also pay homage to the life and legacy of the late Lionel Wendt and commemorate the extraordinary contribution that he has made to the upliftment and development of arts and culture in Sri Lanka. To launch the festival, a private preview will be held on the 22nd of February from 6.00 p.m onwards followed by a presentation on “Lionel Wendt-Nucleus of the ‘43 Group” by Rohan De Soysa at the Lionel Wendt theatre at 7.15 p.m.
The exhibition will showcase talented participants, out of which many are veterans and the rest are up-and-coming artists with immense potential. The event will aim to provide these local artists with a platform for expressing their creative ideas, sharing their work with wider audiences and embarking on meaningful collaborations with agency teams on commercial projects.
The artists participating in this year’s festival will be Sanjeewa Kumara, J.C. Rathnayake, Vajira Gunawardena, Dileepa Jeewantha, Susil Senanayeka, Prageeth Rathnayake, Chamila Gamage, Chiranthi Gunasekara, Sanjaya Bandara, Vimukthi Sahan and Vikum Bandara. Also exhibiting their creations at the event will be Lasantha Kumara, Pramith Geekiyanage, Chammika Jayawardena, Yuwantha Yasas, Namal Kumara, Wasanthaa Gunasekara, Gayan Prageeth, Sanjeewa kumari, Prageeth Morahanga, Hashan Cooray, Chathuranga Gamage, Chathuranga Biyagama, Sanjeewi Senaviratne, Nilusha weerakkody and Kasun Manoj.
Commenting on the upcoming festival, Arosha Perera – CEO of Leo Burnett Sri Lanka stated: “Leo Art is privileged to collaborate with the prestigious Lionel Wendt Memorial Fund to help nurture and develop the field of contemporary and fine art in Sri Lanka. With veteran and up-and-coming artists set to exhibit a diverse and vibrant range of creative works, the year’s exhibition is bound to offer a window into the rich artistic heritage and immense talent that Sri Lanka has to offer. This year’s festival also celebrates Lionel Wendt, a patron of the arts who has made a lasting impact on the local arts circuit. The entire team is excited to be curating an event of this nature, and we look forward to partnering with more local artists and getting their creative input on commercial and industry projects.”
Leo Art is an artists-in-residence programme designed to encourage creativity in the fine arts, by providing artists with a space to express creative ideas, collaborate with agency teams on commercial projects and be seen and appreciated by a wider audience. Leo Art has grown from a small in-house initiative into a full-scale art event that is having a meaningful impact on the island’s creative industry whilst fostering fruitful collaborations between artists and commercial entities.
The Lionel Wendt Memorial Fund was established in 1946 and incorporated in 1948 with the objectives of perpetuating the memory of Lionel Wendt (1900-1944) and the development of the arts by stimulating an interest in the arts and encouraging more appreciative public audiences. In pursuing these objectives the Lionel Wendt Memorial Centre was built creating spaces for exhibitions, concerts, recitals, theatrical and dance performances and providing opportunities for classes in music, drama and photography. Over the years, the Centre has been the launching platform for numerous artists and theatre personalities and artistic work. According to Applause at the Wendt (Neville Weeraratne, LWMF, 2003), Lionel Wendt was an educator, drawing out of people their latent talents and encouraging them in their endeavours.