Bawa 100: Celebrating An Icon

Jun 24 2019.

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Sri Lanka’s pride and joy, Geoffrey Bawa has left in his wake an undisputed legacy. The godfather of Tropical Modernism, Bawa attained legendary status, influencing not only a legion of budding architects but also inviting the curiosity and admiration of layfolk. Bawa’s revolutionary design vernacular epitomised his vision, celebrating the island's indigenous roots while expertly ensuring a timeless design by injecting a healthy dose of modernism. His many masterpieces - such as the iconic Kandalama hotel and Lunuganga - are a mecca for his cult following of architecture buffs from all over the world.

In celebration of the centenary of Bawa’s birth, the Geoffrey Bawa Trust and the Lunuganga Trust have planned a year-long programme of curated events. Featuring an exciting lineup of works by  Amitav Ghosh, Chandragupta Thenuwara, Dayanita Singh, Dominic Sansoni, Lee Mingwei, Kengo Kuma, Sarah Sze, and many others, the programme will commence July 2019 and continue for an entire year, concluding in July 2020. The centennial celebration ‘is an important marker for the Geoffrey Bawa and Lununganga Trusts, to reflect upon its significant achievements over the last 25 years and an occasion to promote the two Trusts’ mission. The centenary programme is designed around both broadening and deepening the Trust’s engagement with Geoffrey Bawa’s legacy’. 

Sharing her comments on Bawa 100, Shayari de Silva, Curator of Art & Archival Collections, The Lunuganga Trust said “The programme was developed around celebrating Geoffrey Bawa's legacy, and artistic practices that he nurtured as a person and through his work. We wanted to ensure that the events, exhibitions, talks and tours would involve a range of media and locations, and be of interest to general audiences as well as the art and architecture communities and the scholarly communities. While some of our programmes will celebrate artists Bawa himself collaborated with, like Laki Senanayake and Dominic Sansoni, others will seek to introduce new work by artists who have not previously exhibited here, but whose work will respond to Bawa, such as Lee Mingwei, Kengo Kuma, Dayanita Singh and Sarah Sze”. 

The programme will inspire and initiate work that spans geographic, generational and medium-specific divides, using the ideal contextual background of Geoffrey Bawa’s life and work.

Events in July 2019

Decorative Arts Exhibition
Objects from the Geoffrey Bawa Collection

The first in a series of exhibitions and publications to introduce some of the extraordinary holdings in the Geoffrey Bawa Collection, this installation of decorative objects, will be on view in situ at Lunuganga. These fascinating objects provide a first glimpse of both the social and private uses of these beautiful things collected over a lifetime by an aesthete with unfettered eclectic tastes, thus building another cypher through which to view the legacy of Bawa. 
In conjunction with this event, Ayesha Rahman of Lanka Decorative Arts will deliver a gallery talk on the Burgomeister Chair. Many fine examples of this chair lie within the Bawa Collection and attendees will closely observe these examples while exploring their history.

Venue: Lunuganga
Dates: 13-21 July 2019
Time: 10AM - 4PM

Gallery talk on Burgomeister Chairs: 14th July at 3 p.m. 
(limited seating; rsvp with [email protected])

Curator led-tours: 14th July at 11 a.m., 17th, 20th and 21st July at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Entrance will be Rs. 1500/- per head; access includes the gardens and select spaces in the main bungalow. Students with valid ID enter free.


16th Annual Memorial Lecture By Kengo Kuma

This year's memorial lecture, falling on the 100th birth anniversary of the late Geoffrey Bawa, will be delivered by renowned Japanese Architect Kengo Kuma. 

Kengo Kuma was born in 1954. Before establishing Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990, he received his Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Tokyo, where he is currently a Professor of Architecture. Having been inspired by Kenzo Tange’s Yoyogi National Gymnasium, built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Kengo Kuma decided to pursue architecture at a young age, and later entered the Architecture program at the University of Tokyo, where he studied under Hiroshi Hara and Yoshichika Uchida. During his Graduate studies, he made a research trip across the Sahara, exploring various villages and settlements, observing a unique power and beauty. After his time as a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in New York, he established his office in Tokyo. Since then, Kengo Kuma & Associates has designed architectural works in over twenty countries and received prestigious awards, including the Architectural Institute of Japan Award, the Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award (Finland), and the International Stone Architecture Award (Italy), among others.

Kengo Kuma & Associates aims to design architecture which naturally merges with its cultural and environmental surroundings, proposing gentle, human-scaled buildings. The office is constantly in search of new materials to replace concrete and steel and seeks a new approach for architecture in a post-industrial society.

Venue: Sri Lanka Foundation Institute
Date: 23 July 2019
Time: 6PM


Launch of “Unseen Bawa” 

Photographic Exhibition By Sebastian Posingis

Venue: Paradise Road, The Gallery Cafe
Date: 23-31 July 2019

The Gift 

Launch of Installation series at Lunuganga and Artist panel moderated by Suhanya Raffel, Executive Director of M+ Hong Kong, Trustee, Lunuganga and Geoffrey Bawa trusts.

Venue: Barefoot Gallery
Date: 24 July 2019
Time: 6PM


Launch of “Box 507” 

Photographic Exhibition by Dayanita Singh

Venue: Barefoot Gallery (to be followed at the Frith Street Gallery, London & Callicoon Fine Arts Gallery, New York)
Date: 24 July 2019
Time: 7.30PM

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Rihaab Mowlana

Rihaab Mowlana is the Deputy Features Editor of Life Plus and a journalist with a passion for crafting captivating narratives. Her expertise lies in feature writing, where she brings a commitment to authenticity and a keen eye for unique perspectives. Follow Rihaab on Twitter & Instagram: @rihaabmowlana


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