Kala Pola, Sri Lanka’s annual open-air art fair, will celebrate 30 years of enhancing livelihoods of Sri Lankan artists in an enthralling atmosphere along Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, also known as Green Path, on 19th February 2023. As Sri Lanka’s pioneering and best-known visual art fair inspired by the world-famous outdoor art fairs in Montmartre Paris and the Turl Street Art Festival in Oxford, Kala Pola 2023 will bring together various art enthusiasts from across the Island, creating a vibrant platform for artists to showcase their art to a large and enthusiastic audience.
Conceptualised and launched by the George Keyt Foundation (GKF) in 1993 and nurtured by the unbroken patronage of the John Keells Group since 1994, Kala Pola strives to elevate the visitor experience each year whilst seeking to include more artists and attract more visitors, thereby generating greater income for the artists.
Ms. Nadija Tambiah, President Legal, Secretarial and Corporate Social Responsibility at John Keells Group said, “Kala Pola is a primary initiative in John Keells Foundation’s efforts to promote and nurture Sri Lanka’s Arts & Culture. Through its three-decade existence, Kala Pola has focused on delivering an uncurated, vibrant platform for Sri Lankan artists – whether senior established artists or emerging artists – effectively forming the base of John Keells Group’s roadmap for fostering Sri Lanka’s Arts & Culture.”
Commenting on the upcoming Kala Pola open-air art fair, Ms. Carmeline Jayasuriya, the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at John Keells Holdings PLC said, “Kala Pola has always sought to sustain and grow the platform to showcase Sri Lankan artists while progressively enhancing the opportunities for supporting our artists by both local and foreign audiences. Its great success also testifies to its networking and learning opportunities, not only through the one-day event but throughout the year via the digital art gallery hosted by John Keells Foundation through which virtual Kala Pola events were also conducted during the last two pandemic-affected years. With the revival of the mega event this year, we are expecting more artists to take part and more visitors to support the artist community with their valuable purchases.”
The Chairperson of the George Keyt Foundation, Mr. Michael Anthonisz said, “The core objective of the GKF has been to catalyse ‘Opportunity for Art’, particularly for Sri Lankan artists. We are truly grateful to the John Keells Group for their sustained commitment towards GKF, the artists and art community of Sri Lanka over the past three decades. A major tourist attraction, the Kala Pola brand is now unmistakable, and throughout its 30 years, has undoubtedly grown into one of Colombo’s iconic landmarks. The greatest testament to its impact is that Green Path has now turned into a permanent small-scale art market throughout the year!’’
Arts & Culture is one of the six focus areas of John Keells Foundation – the CSR entity of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate on the Colombo Stock Exchange, operating over 70 companies in 7 diverse industry sectors. With a history of over 150 years, the John Keells Group provides employment to over 14,000 persons and has been ranked as Sri Lanka’s ‘Most Respected Entity’ for the last 17 Years by LMD Magazine. Whilst being a full member of the World Economic Forum and a Participant of the UN Global Compact, JKH drives its CSR vision of “Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow” through John Keells Foundation and through the social entrepreneurship initiative, ‘Plasticcycle’, which is a catalyst in significantly reducing plastic pollution in Sri Lanka.