Legendary art collection in secluded romantic villa
Contemporary Sri Lankan Art
The tile-roofed bungalow is a real gem. This was the much-loved old home of artist Harry Pieris, one of the founding members of Sri Lanka’s famous 43 group and it is packed with what is perhaps the best collection of contemporary Sri Lankan art in the country. It is not just a house, it was a meeting place for the artists of the much-coveted ‘43 group, who carved the face of Sri Lankan contemporary art. All the paintings here are from Harry’s original collection.
To understand the gallery, one must first understand Harry’s ideology. He was a person of simple elegance, he was inspired by Ananda Coomaraswamy’s ideal that, “Nations are made by artists and poets, not by traders and politicians. Art contains in itself the deepest principles of life, the truest guide to the greatest art, the art of living” and if his life is testament to this, this house is his living legacy.
Sapumal was Harry’s childhood nickname. It is the flower of the sapu tree that never blooms in full. A fitting name for someone who always stayed true to his inner child...
What we love about the place
There is something refreshingly unpretentious about the place. This is Art with the capital A, but in a very casual homey atmosphere. The house is also used for children art classes, exhibitions, and gatherings of art lovers. Check out the reference library and an archive of newspaper cuttings and catalogues on the ’43 Group and twentieth century artists of Sri Lanka.
An auxiliary gallery which displays the work of Varuni Hunt and a studio apartment which is rented out to visiting artists are also on the premises. “It’s a tranquil place. I think people will feel refreshed. It’s not just about the paintings it’s a way of life” says Rohan and we couldn’t agree more.