Silent auction of contemporary art in aid of the Deaf and Blind School

Aug 23 2017.

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The Ceylon School for the Deaf and Blind in collaboration with the Saskia Fernando Gallery presents ‘Silent Auction and Fundraiser of Modern and Contemporary Art’ for the third consecutive year at the Temple Trees auditorium on 24 August 2017. 

Differing from the typical setting of an auctioneer calling out for prices and taking a count of raised hands, the organisers are introducing the ‘Silent Auction’ format, a trend popularly used for charity events across the globe, to Sri Lankan audiences with the hope of making this the biggest fundraiser of this sort in the island. 

Marking the third consecutive auction, the event will have 42 works of art exhibited and open for bidding at the end of which the total amount raised will be announced. All proceeds will entirely be directed towards the three residential schools under the Ceylon School for the Deaf and Blind, The School for the Blind, the School for the Deaf at Ratmalana and Nuffield School for the Deaf & Blind at Kaithady Jaffna. 

Speaking to us Nirosh De Silva, the Chairman of the Resource Development Committee of the Schools, noted that the primary aim of the fundraiser is to raise the Rs.24-28 million deficit that continues to exist each year as the expenses of managing a facility that offers education, hostels and dining completely free of charge to all its 570 students keep increasing by the year. The annual budget of the programme exceeds Rs.130 million out of which government support accounts for approximately 50% of the total, leaving the remainder to be met with the various fundraisers organised throughout the year. Among them the silent auction stands out as the only event of this calibre and magnitude, not only raising the much needed funds but also serving as a platform to discuss modern art while largely developing the donor community for the school. 

Acknowledging the overwhelming generosity of artists and collectors who have donated some of the best pieces of their collections for this cause, Saskia Fernando, gallerist and curator explained the very interesting work on elephants created especially for the auction that she intends on continuing as a feature at future auctions too. The 80-page elaborate auction catalogue published prior to the event contains detailed descriptions and facts about each of the pieces to be exhibited providing bidders ample time to pick their favourite. The 12 elephants made with resin and fibre glass decorated by artwork representing the unique style of each artist is also bound to create a discussion on a myriad matters spanning from the violation of the elephant-symbol to the depiction of first hand experiences of Sri Lanka’s thirty-year-old civil war as very rightly detailed in the catalogue.

The line-up boasts of celebrated local and International artists in the contemporary art scene with names like Jagath Ravindra, Jagath Weerasinghe, Sarath Gunasiri Perera, Seevali Illangasinghe, Pala Pothupitiye, Priyantha Udagedara and Firi Rahman to name a few. Jamini Roy’s work which is usually available for purchase within India to Indian residents only will also be exhibited adding much to the grandeur of the event.  Among the masterpieces are work acquired from the esteemed Dr. Ralph Pieris collection, exhibited for 25 years at the Sapumal Foundation and a series of works by Stanley Kirinde, donated by Suresh Dominic which will be auctioned.  Making her final remarks Saskia reiterated how honoured they are to be involved with the school as a part of such a charitable venture. Nirosh further added, 

“We are hopeful that some of our children will eventually be inspired by this event and choose art as a career. The event itself has become one that raises funds for a worthy cause and also widens the knowledge of our local community on contemporary Sri Lankan art.”

Registrations are open till the end of Wednesday 23 August for all bidders via email on [email protected]. All information pertaining to the event is available on , auction catalogues too will be available for preview by contacting the said email and the Saskia Fernando Gallery on 0117429010 before 24 August 2017. 

A novel celebration of contemporary art in aid of the deaf and blind community of Sri Lanka, a combination that’s sure to be rewardingly enjoyable. Do register to be a part of this unique and exciting evening while supporting a truly worthy cause.


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