DELVING INTO THE DEPTHS OF ART PROFESSIONALISM
Cover personality Saskia Fernando, Gallerist of Saskia Fernando Gallery, is instrumental in professionalizing and significantly contributing to the growth of the local visual art industry. As the founding force of the largest contemporary art gallery in the island, Saskia incepted the gallery in 2009, which houses two exhibition spaces and a private viewing gallery supporting the professional careers of both established and emerging artists who are characterizing the landscape and identity of Sri Lankan contemporary art.
Due to professional working relationships with father, Udayshanth Fernando of Paradise Road Gallery, Colombo, Saskia interacted with a number of artists, including some of whom she has known all her life. During this incubation period, the seeds were nourished of what would become an internationally acclaimed mission to represent Sri Lanka’s finest artists and provide them with a culture of exposure and opportunity to a wider audience both locally and internationally. “You need to have a very strong passion to become involved in a creative industry”, she reflects, as such quality took hold and propelled to establish her own vision in the local art scene, deciding to work in the direction of something more interactive, after having assisted the growth of the Paradise Road Gallery. The gallerist notes in contemplation of the nature of her occupation and vision, especially when starting out, was the challenge of instilling the conviction that it is a serious profession. “So for me, it was really all about professionalizing the industry”. The nature of the projects Saskia is involved in are a constantly changing phenomenon in an environment that attracts the workings of different types of artists involved with this space for contemporary art. She admits that her passion is working towards the growth of the industry and its possibilities for the future.
With regards to the role of the gallery and the responsibility to art enthusiasts and the larger public, Saskia remarks that maintaining a sense of quality in experience is important. Sri Lanka’s art scene has an international audience who are interested in its cultural complexity. As there are not many galleries in operation, the workings of represented artists are able to garner much attention. “My responsibility is to feel a deeper connection towards the artists than to my audience,” she states. Consequently, the core around which Saskia Fernando Gallery functions are the artists and their artistic motifs. In this regard, the gallerist curates a lifeline between artists, collectors and the public in ensuring the smooth running of the gallery, providing showcases of a critical nature, caliber and content.
Click below to read the full review.