‘Matara Festival for the Arts’ (MFA) 1st Edition

Nov 10 2023.

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Matara Festival for the Arts (MFA), a celebration of Contemporary Art and Music from Sri Lanka and beyond, will kick off its 1st Edition on Independence Weekend, February 2-4 2024.

It follows the weekend after the Galle Literary Festival, providing tourists and Lankans alike with further reason to spend the start of the year out along the south coast.

The festival is banking on the distinctive power of an arts-led economic and social restart for the UNESCO-listed Matara Fort, Matara town, and the district. It also seeks to build bridges of vibrant and educative exchange via the arts with those from other parts of the country and diasporic and international collaborators.
The primary programme is curated by esteemed contemporary artist and archaeologist Prof. Jagath Weerasinghe, and musician and educator Dr. Sumudi Suraweera of Music Matters, and will see the unveiling of a feature exhibition and a concert. (Artiste and performer details to be announced ahead).

Festival Team: Prof. Jagath Weerasinghe (Art Programme Curator & Festival Co-Founder) & Dr. Sumudi Suraweera (Music Programme Curator); Festival Co-Founders Jayanthi Samaraweera Gunewardena & Chanchala Gunewardena.

The festival will be centered on the pillars of #Culture Community Collaboration presented in focused and intersectional modes. One example of this is the ‘Art for Community and Collaboration’ project which started October 14th and saw leading contemporary artists and performance artistes mentoring aspiring ones on contemporary art as they work towards producing a collaborative artwork to be presented at the festival. Other core values of the programme include diversity as a strength, economic inclusivity, and environmental sustainability, as they align with the future resilience and progress of our communities.

Along these lines, additional festival programming will see innovation catalyst Randhula de Silva lead a workshop and conversations component, while the Good Market will be a capacity-building partner in the set up of a community market in collaboration with the Matara District Secretariat and other partners.  The government at multiple levels has also been a crucial partner in preparing the spaces for the festival that will continue in the longer term to benefit the community - particularly its youth.

The festival is co-founded by Jayanthi Samaraweera Gunewardena & Chanchala Gunewardena, who carry on the work of their family member the late Mangala Samaraweera via the Freedom Hub in Matara, and Prof. Weerasinghe who was a collaborator of Samaraweera’s in efforts of art for peacebuilding.

Follow along for artistes and performance details, and insight into youth and community programming at @MataraForArts on Instagram & Facebook. 


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