Sri Lanka's Virtual Design Festival Showcase

This year, the Academy of Design (AOD) conceptualizes Sri Lanka Design Festival 2021, in its purpose and intention to promote the country’s ‘designed and made in Sri Lanka’ initiatives through a series of virtual fashion showcases, design exhibitions, forums and workshops that focus on product innovation, sustainable design, art and creative industries. The Sri Lanka Design Festival 2021 will be held virtually for the first-time, on the 15th, 16th and 17th of January 2021. The Festival will showcase to a global audience through various collaborations.

Under the theme ‘impACT’, the Virtual Festival will showcase fashion and design initiatives that motivate the industry to act now and create a positive impact, whilst bringing in much-needed new exports through design driven innovation. Since its inception in 2009, this will mark the 10th Sri Lanka Design Festival, held at a significant time, celebrating fashion, architecture, tourism, and design technology bringing together all connected industries. The three-full day Virtual Festival will include over 40 different segments and showcase over 50 different eminent personalities comprising designers, design led industries, craft and the SME sector makers, artists, young entrepreneurs, speakers, celebrities and like-minded enthusiasts.

Amongst many segments and speakers, Anoma Wijewardene a globally renowned Sri Lankan artist will be featured as the Artist Spotlight of SLDF 2021 showcasing some of her exclusive work on art captivating transformation, inclusivity-diversity unity and climate change. Anoma was recognized as one of ARTRA’s Iconic Women on our first instalment of the annual edition. ARTRA conversed with the artist on her prolific life in the studio for ARTRA’s 50th Anniversary Edition as she discussed the scope of contemporary art in addressing timely concerns, specifically those of building a sustainable relationship with nature and the environment; and the preservation of our biodiversity. Another highlight being the Keynote Speech by H.E Tshering Tobgay, former Prime Minister of Bhutan, the only carbon neutral country in the world as he shares his insights on the harmony between sustainability and economics reflecting on Bhutan’s success in this front.

The virtual line-up of the ‘Design Katha’ series will begin on the 15th of January as ‘Impact of Public Art in Society’, explores the impact Public Art has in adding meaning to cities and uniqueness to communities while shaping history and culture with Azara Jaleel, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of ARTRA Magazine & Daily ARTRA, alongside artist Anoma Wijewardene and architect Ruchi Jeyanathan while James Balmond, Creative Director of Balmond Studio will moderate the discussion. ‘Impact of Design in Advertising’ will follow, a discussion within ad veterans and new leaders on how design thinking is needed to fulfil an increasingly important role in bridging brands and consumers in new ways.

The virtual event will continue on the 16th of January with events including ‘Craft & Architecture by Ruchi Jeyanathan’, an insightful session about the practice of bringing the right craftsmen on board and marrying craft with technology, presenting tradition and uplifting lives through tasteful design, ‘Sri Lanka’s Gem & Jewellery Legacy’, an informative journey into the heart of Sri Lanka’s gem and jewellery legacy, through inspiring video segments and talks by a panel of international and local gem and jewellery experts, ‘Port City Future City: Creative View Point’, a creative discussion on the smart city of the future. Sri Lanka Design Festival will conclude on the 17th of January with ‘Modern Sri Lankan Furniture by Channa Daswatte’, a short film on the profound western influence on furniture design and how modern Sri Lankan furniture has evolved, reflecting on the works of Geoffrey Bawa.

The virtual Sri Lanka Design Festival 2021 is produced by the Academy of Design (AOD) – in collaboration with government, private and international entities. Sri Lanka Design Festival 2021 will present a fascinating insight to how Sri Lankan creativity adapts to working in an insular world and the impact creativity, design and innovation can have on healing and recovery. The Festival, through its partnerships and collaborations intends to help promote engagement and connections to create wider recognition for Sri Lanka’s design industries that are globally progressive.

Linda Speldewinde, Founder of Sri Lanka Design Festival and Chairperson of Academy of Design was recognized as one of ARTRA’s Iconic Woman in 2018 as she explored the potential of Sri Lanka’s design and fashion industries. Spearheading this year’s edition of Sri Lanka Design Festival, she commented “We are excited to bring this to you in a new way and at a much-needed time for Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Design Festival 2021 - reveals the first-ever virtual Festival that will innovatively showcase the initiatives, transforming the fashion and design tech industry. In the last decade, AOD has shaped the lives of many young creative people helping them to become young entrepreneurs and designers of today. Furthermore, Sri Lanka Design Festival has been a window to contribute to the fashion, tourism and design-tech industry as a whole and we are proud to collaborate with inspirational and like-minded businesses to elevate the industry as a whole and host the milestone event that would definitely recognize Sri Lankan Design, Craft, Fashion, Creative industries and Technology via the nation’s renowned change-makers at an international level.”

The ‘impACT’, themed Sri Lanka Design Festival 2021 will comprise programmes on sustainable design; Innovation initiatives such as Tech-design development; Impact of Sri Lankan design, craft and fashion, new export opportunities, grass root level industry innovation and the value of craft communities - showcasing projects and unveiling partners and initiatives that would contribute to navigate the nation out of the pandemic period.


12th January, 2021 Applied Art