VENERATING TRADITIONAL PERFORMANCE ART
Traditional art in its variety of forms including dance, music, visual art and architecture is a significant component of the cultural identity and heritage of the nation of Sri Lanka. One is immediately reminded of the great kingdoms such as Sigiriya that represent the rich cultural and artistic production the country has manifested throughout its history. In the spirit of rejuvenating traditional dance in celebrating the nation’s cultural persona, The Chitrasena Vajira Dance Foundation, presented the Guru Gedara Festival, held from the 30th of August to the 2nd of September at the Chitrasena Vajira Kalayathanaya in association with the John Keells Foundation and Cinnamon Life. Being the Foundation’s first immersive traditional arts experience, a range of performances, workshops, discussion forums, master classes and demonstrations where smaller groups of individuals were fully immersed into episodes of cultural awareness and acknowledgement.
The Guru Gedara Festival was the result of several months of immaculate curation and commitment in identifying and recognizing the connoisseurs of traditional art forms including communal rites and rituals such as the ‘Pahan Maduwa’ dance, traditional make‐up, costuming, accessorizing, drumming and immersive theatric encounters. Heshma Vignaraja, Director of the Chitrasena Vajira Dance Foundation and the festival expressed the desire of the foundation to “celebrate our Gurus, to let them know that their arts, crafts and skills are valued, respected and venerated.
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