Barefoot Gallery Colombo

The Barefoot Gallery Colombo serves as a platform for artists, musicians, poets and filmmakers. The space is used in a variety of ways: exhibitions by local and foreign artists and photographers, (including The World Press Photo) concerts, poetry readings, film nights and theatre. The café on its premises hosts private dinners and parties at night and is home to Colombo’s most popular pub quiz.

After a hiatus, it reopened in 1991 as “Gallery 706 Colombo” and was the first commercial art gallery in Sri Lanka. The salon type atmosphere prevailed and Gallery 706 hosted a number of exhibitions in the 1990’s by artists such as Jagath Weerasinghe, Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Anoli Perera, and Muhanned Cader. It also presented exhibitions of work by visitors, either those living temporarily in the island or others just passing through. Three notable exhibitions were a retrospective by George Classen in 1993, an exhibition of acrylics on paper by Ivan Peries in 1996, both were members of the illustrious 43 Group that was founded by Lionel Wendt in 1943; And, a comprehensive exhibition of Lionel Wendt photographs that went up for view and sale – a request from the owners of the collection that the directors of Gallery 706 were happy to oblige. 150 pictures were selected from a substantial 600.

In 1999 came further expansion and the gallery moved into a new building, and the name changed to Barefoot Gallery Colombo to consolidate all of Barefoot’s different activities under one umbrella. Artists that came on board and exhibit regularly with us are: Alex Stewart, Barbara Sansoni and the designers at Barefoot, photographer Dominic Sansoni, Druvinka, Josephine Balakrishnan, Laki Senanayake, Mahen Chanmugum, Nelun Harasgama, and Neville and Sybil Weereratne.

The responsibility of the gallery is to ensure that the work that is shown under its auspices is genuine, well executed and interesting. In this way, Barefoot helps cultivate the arts.

current exhibition:

Whilst You Were Sleeping by Elizabeth Porter

Elizabeth Porter first visited Sri Lanka 30 years ago. Her work reflects her interest in how, in the middle of the city nature, particularly birds, animals and insects, still finds thier place. Painting on panels of gold leaf, her images call to mind religious icons and draw the viewer intimately towards these creatures, asking us to revaluate the things we consider insignificant.

Whilst you were sleeping,

In the safety & certainty of your bed, breath so quiet; soft and sweet. In the deep dark frenetic dreams begin to seep into the plans you have been making for the days ahead; That map, once so clear and organised, becomes fractured and difficult to read; Twisted and splintered by extradinary landscapes. Strange naratives shatter the simple shape you have been fabricating of reality.

In the brutal glare of morning so many certainties are lost; While others have been replaced by doupt and confusion. Indeed everything has changed, becoming unfamiliar & new.

Yet a few simple things remain to comfort you:
A fox is dancing;
A boat has grown golden wings:
A bird is learning to sing again;
A knot is tied in friendship;
A throng of moths escort a bear;
A house has been made of sticks;
And here in the dark one white flower has opened.
- Elizabeth Porter


    From Celtic Land to South Asia by Padrig Morin

    FROM CELTIC LAND TO SOUTH ASIA recounts the artist’s journey from
    his native Brittany to Sri Lanka passing by India and the Middle East. Padrig
    attempts to express through Celtic, Hindu and Middle Eastern designs, the
    different influences that imprinted on his mind along this journey in a colorful
    flat art and naive style.
    Through this journey, Padrig felt a growing and relentless sense of anxiety
    generated by political, social and economic instability spreading along his path.
    Padrig toyed with the idea of a more political and social expression in his work.
    Nevertheless, the urge to share a feeling of quietness and peace took the upper
    hand and so the desire to translate a sense of humanity as well as an attempt to
    connect to a more spiritual dimension.
    Padrig hopes he managed some of this with this exhibition through his designs,
    colors, symmetry, religious and cultural symbolism as well as the constant use
    of animal and floral patterns
    -Padrig Morin


    by Nelun Harasgama

    Nelun Harasgama's work is dististanding withinctively recognisable. Her solitary fin bare interiors or barren l gures, sitting or and scapes have not only become synony mous with her near-abstract style but have also contributed to her standi the few female artists of her generation. Nelun has been making work for nearly thirty years.