The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka is an education-led initiative that aims to establish a public museum dedicated to the display, research, collection and conservation of modern and contemporary art for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public, schools and tourists.

Our trilingual approach to education has meant that we have trained staff who can meet with, and respond to the specific curiosities and interests of students and teachers who engage with the exhibition.

Ruhanie Perera, Curator, Education and Public Engagement

Dec 2021 4

In 2016, a Founding Committee, made up of artists, museum experts, art historians, collectors and art supporters, came together with a common purpose which was to establish a space through which the country’s modern and contemporary art could be seen, shared and preserved for public benefit. They recognised that museums in Sri Lanka have sought to serve the past at the exclusion of the rich histories of the modern and contemporary arts.

As art forms have changed and shifted through the modern and contemporary art periods, so too have our communities and their expectations. As such, the founding committee recognized the need to embrace more than what we have come to expect from museums in the country. What was needed was a rethinking from the ground up. Such a museum needed to be a place of learning and enjoyment where all communities were not only welcome but reflected as active participants in its decisions and activities.

Dec 2021 3

“The Museum is a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible. Our aim is to excite visitors, be they school children, tourists or the general public, the moment they step into the space, so that by the time they leave they are thinking about their return visit. 

— Sharmini Pereira, Chief Curator

In 2019 the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art was established as a not-for-profit entity. The museum’s mission sets out:

—To be a museum for visual culture focusing on 20th and 21st century art, design, craft, architecture, performance and the moving image from Sri Lanka.

—To collect, preserve, conserve, display, restore and interpret art, design, craft, performance, architecture and the moving image.

—To research, commission and distribute interpretative and educative materials and provide fora for dialogue.

—To foster and promote public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of a public space dedicated to art, design, craft, architecture, performance and the moving image.

—To plan, design, build, operate, manage, maintain and otherwise care for the museum as a dynamic public space.

—To solicit and receive gifts, donations, bequests and sponsorships consistent with the objectives of the museum.

—To co-operate with any organised bodies or institutions engaged in a similar industry or who share the museum’s objectives.

Our most interesting visits have come from conversations where teachers have worked with our curators to set up alternative classrooms in the museum, organise field trips to the exhibition followed by art and craft activities, as well as basing class projects on the exhibition content.

Ruhanie Perera, Curator, Education and Public Engagement

Dec 2021 7


The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka recognises the urgent need to build an art collection that is accessible to the public. Its first priority is to prepare the ground for the long-term commitments of caring for a collection of art, architecture, design, craft, moving image and performance.A collection’s building programme that is sustainable and specific to the long-term goals of the museum is underway. This includes collection cataloguing, capacity building, establishing museum storage and creating a collection policy.

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We set out to not only create a museum but to encourage museum-going publics.

Ajit Gunewardene, Chair, Founding Committee


The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka is based in Sri Lanka. It currently lives and works locally without a fixed location. Over the coming years the museum will inhabit different physical locations on a project by project basis.

We believe that anyone can have a meaningful experience with art and focus every experience to be one that is conversational, encouraging visitors to ask questions and bring their experiences into the work.

Sandev Handy, Curator

Dec 2021 5


The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is staffed by a team of dedicated professionals, interns and trainees.

Sharmini Pereira
Chief Curator

Sandev Handy
Senior Curator

Thinal Sajeewa
Assistant Curator

Mineli Karunaratne
Coordinator Education and Public Programmes

Malshani Delgahapitiya
Head of Operations

Thariq Thahireen
Gallery Manager

Onella Perera
Development Assistant

Kaumadi Jayaweera
Editorial Assistant

Dumesha Wimalasiri
Social Media and Website Manager

Sundaralingam Ramya
Finance, Administration, and MEL Associate

Amalini De Sayrah
Project Manager

Museum Committee

Channa Daswatte
Partner, MICD Associates

Abbas Esufally
Group Director, Hemas Holdings PLC

Ajit Gunewardene (Chair)
Founder and CEO, Bluestone Capital

Dr Sujatha Meegama
Assistant Professor, School of Art, Design, and Media at Nanyang Technical University, Singapore

Ranmali Mirchandani
National Manager South Asia, Royal Academy of Dance UK, Gratiaen Trustee, Governing Board, Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka

Suhanya Raffel
Executive Director of the M+, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong

Michael Snelling
Artist & Curator, Former Director of the National Art School, Sydney

Nadija Tambiah
Head of Legal, Secretarial and CSR at John Keells Holdings PLC

John Wickremeratne
Deputy Director, M+, West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong

Jagath Weerasinghe
Artist (Founding Committee)

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