‘The Foreigners’

4 May 202322 October 2023

Screenshot 2023-04-27 at 10.00.53 AM

The term ‘foreigner’ is commonly used to describe someone from another country. Can a foreigner, however, just as easily be someone who inhabits another identity, speaks another language, or is from another community? Moreover, can a foreigner be someone who straddles multiple identities, languages, and communities without neatly belonging to one?

‘The Foreigners’ brings together the works of 15 contemporary artists, who use varying media to address the entangled ways in which foreignness is inscribed onto them, marking them as strangers, outsiders, or transgressors. Together their works resist, reimagine, and re-mix well-worn tropes of how otherness is categorised and foreignness is perceived.

Arjuna Gunaratne
Danushka Marasinghe
Dinelka Liyanage
Hema Shironi
Hania Luthufi
Imaad Majeed
Isuru Kumarasinghe
Janani Cooray
K K Srinath Chathuranga
Nina Mangalanayagam
Reginald S. Aloysius
S.H. Sarath
Shyama Golden
Stephen Champion
Sumudi Suraweera

‘The Foreigners’ is curated by Sandev Handy and Sharmini Pereira

Exhibition Design by Jonathan Edward

Production by Malshani Delgahapitiya

Editorial by Kaumadi Jayaweera

Translations by Kaumadi Alawathugoda, Shiyalni Janarthanan, Phusathi Liyanaarachchi, Miriam Naveendran, Ravihari Ravendrakumar, and Saambavi Sivaji

Education and Public Programmes by Pramodha Weerasekera

We would like to thank all the artists, funders, and lenders for their generous support in making this exhibition possible.

Additional thanks to:

Afzal Farook
Ananda Amarasiri
Anoja Seneviratne
Bilesha Fernando
Crescat Management, Security, and Maintenance
Emile Molin
Heshani Karunanayake
Jonathan Edward
Joyce Adams So
Kalpa Munasinghe
Kishan Perera
Lalindra Amarasekara
Madhavi Gore
Mohamed Zarook
Nalliney Thangavelu
Nikhil Chopra
Nilshan Fernando
Niroshi Jayasekera
Priyantha Udagedara
Rasika Silva
Rohit Gupta
Sandeep Gopal
Sanjay Kulatunga
Saskia Fernando
Shanila Alles
Thavisha Wickramatunga
Thushara Perera
Tushma Perera

‘The Foreigners’ exhibition is generously supported by

Anojie Amerasinghe and Hugues Marchand
Radhika Chopra and Rajan Anandan

European Union

Additional support provided by

British Council Sri Lanka

Major Benefactors and Funders of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka

John Keells Foundation
Nations Trust Bank
Fairfirst Insurance

Radio Partner

Lite FM

Founding Patrons 2023-2024

Shivanthi Atukorale and Ravin Basnayake
Sharmila and Akram Cassim
Samantha de Silva
Suresh Dominic
Abbas and Alnaas Esufally
Malik Fernando
Roshni and Sheran Fernando
Ajit and Chandani Gunewardene
Leena Hirdaramani
Anula Kusum Jayasuriya, David Gilmour, and Shani Sarkis
Kumar and Ranmali Mirchandani
Angeline Ondaatjie
Mohan Tissanayagam
Amitha, Arshia, and Shasthi Silva

‘Encounters’

11 February 2022 – 19 March 2023

Encounters_1800x960px

Does a chance encounter between one thing and another alter how something familiar or commonplace is otherwise seen? Can two artworks placed side by side reveal something new about each of them?

This exhibition is structured as a sequence of changing displays which bring together six encounters between artworks from the 1950s to the present.

Each display revolves around and responds to a specially chosen painting drawn from the John Keells Holdings or the George Keyt Foundation art collections. The six encounters propose playful and at times contentious comparisons between the familiar and unexpected.

Visitors are invited to return to Encounters over the course of three rotations:

Rotation 1
11 February–22 May 2022

Abdul Halik Azeez
Afro-Asian Writers’ Bureau
Aubrey Collette
Martin Wickramasinghe
Permanent Bureau of Afro-Asian Writers
Senaka Senanayake

George Keyt
Pradeep Thalawatta

Asai Rasiah
George Keyt
Richard Gabriel
Susiman Nirmalavasan

Rotation 2
22 June–13 November 2022

Abdul Halik Azeez
Afro-Asian Writers’ Bureau
Aubrey Collette
Martin Wickramasinghe
Permanent Bureau of Afro-Asian Writers
Senaka Senanayake

Firi Rahman
Gamini Ratnavira
Ismeth Raheem
Laki Senanayake

Rotation 3
8 December 2022–19 March 2023

Abdul Halik Azeez
Afro-Asian Writers’ Bureau
Aubrey Collette
Martin Wickramasinghe
Permanent Bureau of Afro-Asian Writers
Senaka Senanayake

A. Mark
George Keyt
Nelun Harasgama

George Keyt
Janani Cooray

Encounters is curated by Sharmini Pereira, Chief Curator and Sandev Handy, Assistant Curator.

Exhibition and Graphic Design by Studio M: Emile Molin with Jonathan Edward assisted by Ruth Perera and Keshini Wewegama.

Translations by Kaumadi Jayaweera, Kirubalini Stephen, Miriam Naveendran, Phusathi Liyanaarachchi, Saambavi Sivaji, and Shiyalni Janarthanan.

We would like to thank all the artists, funders, and lenders for their generous support in making this exhibition possible.

Additional thanks to:

Afzal Farook
Anoja De J Seneviratne
Aravinda Dharmathilaka
C. Anjalendran
David Janszé Jr.
Dilko Samaranayake
Emile Molin
Jennifer Senanayake
Jithain Hathiramani
Jonathan Edward
Murfad Shariff
Niroshi Jayasekera
Padma Bandaranayake
Pathmanesan Prasanth
Prof. Hala Halim
Prof. Tariq Mehmood Ali
Prof. T. Sanathanan
Prof. Virinder S. Kalra
Rasika Silva
Ruvini Ekanayake and team at Crescat Boulevard
Shawnerine Abraham
Shayari de Silva
Stefan Winkler
Thisath Thoradeniya
Udaya Hewawasam

‘Encounters’ is generously supported by

Nations Trust Bank

Additional support provided by

Asian Hotels and Properties PLC
European Union
Fairfirst Insurance
Foundation for Arts Initiatives
Goethe Institut Sri Lanka
John Keells Foundation
MICD Associates
Studio M – CMB (Pvt) Ltd

‘one hundred thousand small tales’

19 December 201916 August 2020

OHTST Gallery

In 2003, Cheran, a leading contemporary Tamil poet, published a poem where he described how a

“… bridge, strengthened by its burden
of a hundred thousand tales
collapses within a single tear.”

This exhibition draws its title, and curatorial impetus, from the exercise of imagining how the poem’s burden of countless tales might be conceived as an exhibition. To this end, it views the collapse of a physical structure as a tipping point that gives rise to a body of knowledge, of excessive and epic proportions, and how this excess might be displayed, arranged, catalogued and understood. From afar, this exhibition addresses the task of recording an art history in terms of an artistic output that bore witness to many narratives, episodes, and accounts of what has come to pass in Sri Lanka during its recent history. Up close, it recognises the strength of Sri Lanka’s artistic communities across several generations and the artworks that they have given form to, as the material manifestation of the poem’s ‘hundred thousand tales’. In doing so, the exhibition positions each artwork as a unique tale, seeing the potential each one possesses to tell or retell a story, depart from a story, or to remain silent. This exhibition is indebted to the countless exhibitions that have taken place over previous decades, and the efforts of many artists, curators, collectives, writers, collectors and organisations, as well as those to come.

This exhibition was originally commissioned by the Dhaka Art Summit and was first shown at the Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka from 2–10 February 2018

We would like to thank all the artists and lenders for their
generous support in making this exhibition possible.

Major Benefactors:

AOD Colombo (Pvt) Ltd
John Keells Foundation
MICD Associates

This exhibition would not have been possible without the immense generosity of:

ApiHappi
AzkoNobel
Colombo Innovation Tower
Elephant House
Fairfirst Insurance Limited
Geoffrey Bawa Trust
Gunaratne Offset (Pvt) Ltd
Idea Hub (Pvt) Ltd
M3Force Photonics (Pvt) Ltd
Samdani Art Foundation
True Value Green Products (Pvt) Ltd
VK Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd
Wijeya Newspapers
Wineworld (Pvt) Ltd

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