CRAFTING THE SRI LANKAN NARRATIVE
Launch of The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Museums have a history to share, and the opening of Sri Lanka’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) aims to contain complex reflections of cultures that produced them, including their politics, social structures, and systems of thought through its first exhibition “‘One Hundred Thousand Small Tales’ curated by the Chief Curator, Sharmini Pereira. Launched on the 12th December, the MMCA, a privately funded not-for-profit initiative housed temporarily at the Colombo Innovation Centre, Colombo 4 is led by a highly-skilled founding committee made up of leading art and industry professionals. Whilst being the country’s first public museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art, the initiative is committed to research, conservation, display and the study of modern and contemporary art for the educational benefit of the public.
“It was clear to us that the museums of Sri Lanka have sought to preserve our past glory, at the exclusion of our modern and contemporary histories. Globally, museums are now striving to be places where all sections of society can be reflected in its collections, displays and educational programming. Sri Lanka’s rich historic culture gives credence to the island to lead the way in the region as a modern and contemporary museum destination,” said Ajith Gunewardene, the Chairman of the founding committee of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka. The launch of The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, we believe is an important milestone in the growth of the art industry. Speaking on the purpose behind the setting up of the museum, Ruhanie Perera, curator, Education and Public Engagement for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art said “Education is at the heart of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka in terms of how we intend to work with our communities and contexts. This will be a public museum dedicated to the display, education, research, and conservation of modern and contemporary art, where education will underpin and drive our work at every level. Our work over the coming years will be informed by a commitment we make to inclusivity, collaboration, sustainability, and transformation. We open with a special preview for educators and roll out our targeted schools and universities program where we will welcome teachers and students to the museum. These are the beginnings of conversation that we want to learn from and grow.”
Curated by art historian Sharmini Pereira, the museum’s inaugural exhibition, “one hundred thousand small tales,” aims at presenting the Sri Lankan narrative depicting its capacious artistic heredities from the preludes to contemporary times.
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