Kala Pola: The art lovers’ playground | Sunday Observer

Kala Pola: The art lovers’ playground

Kala Pola 2019 - the Annual Open Air Art fair was held on February 24 at Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7. Its catalogue states that Kala Pola 2019 is the 26th edition of this event presented by the George Keyt Foundation and the 25th such edition to be held in association with John Keells Group through its Corporate Social Responsibility Entity - John Keells Foundation. A one-day event, the annual ‘Kala Pola’ is ranked among Sri Lanka’s most looked-forward-to events on the calendar.

If any event in the field of art in Sri Lanka could claim to have, over the years, consistently launched careers, helped to build confidence, encouraged experimentation and above all, instilled hope and encouraged dreams and further effort, this would be it. This is the event where many a first-timer experienced the excitement of the first sale of a drawing, painting and sculpture and many a veteran found the courage to go on.

This year too it did not look any different.The atmosphere was one of indescribable enthusiasm and vitality.

The artists filled every description you could speak of. The young stood side by side with the seniors and not-so-young and the academically trained professionals stood side by side with self-taught artists. Some of them were Kala Pola first timers while others were veterans.

It would be grossly unfair and against the spirit of the event to describe a few and leave out the others. The presence of established artists such as Raja Segar, Wijekulatilake Nayananda, Sameera Kalupahana and Basil Cooray could be considered an indicator that this is not just for casual artists.

If the artists were diverse so were their creations - a profusion of styles, approaches and a kaleidoscope of colour. The diversity was so broad that it would defeat any attempt to describe it fully.

The buyers too were equally diverse. Stalwarts of Colombo’s corporate with substantial buying power mingled with first time buyers with modest budgets. Some were patrons of artists and regular buyers. Some others were on the lookout for specific ‘feels’. Yet others, less fastidious, looked for something nice within their modest budgets. Kala Pola had something for every budget and every taste. A heartening feature was to see a substantial number of buyers from overseas making purchases.

Overall yet another very successful edition of Kala Pola.