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:

Ganeshism 5 by Mahen Chanmugam

Mahen, as a single subject artist, has devoted the last 30 years to portraying Ganesha. ​

Whereas the image topic is constant, the paintings capture a range of emotions and themes. Today his art looks at the Deity’s iconography as a philosophical template. One that symbolizes liberation from ego, acceptance and the laws of cause and effect. ​

The paintings explore contemporary interpretations of Ganesha’s complex iconography and symbolism. Through his modern, dynamic and colourful acrylic paintings, the artist takes you on a personal journey, away from the often misunderstood classic religious views, into the study of an idol with symbolism of deep cosmic significance. ​


    Barbara Sansoni - A Retrospective 2023

    "Hang a little landscape colour" is the Barbara Sansoni - A Retrospective 2023 exhibition that the gallery is showing from the 28th of April till the 28th of May.

    The textile design section of the Barbara Sansoni - A Retrospective will continue in the upper gallery till 28th June.