Kala Pola 2024 – Spotlighting Artistic Diversity and Creative Expression through Visual Art

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –  Kala Pola, Sri Lanka’s annual open-air art fair, is set to mark its 31st anniversary on 18th February 2024. Celebrating over three decades of fostering the livelihoods of Sri Lankan artists, Kala Pola takes inspiration from the world-famous outdoor art fairs in Montmartre, Paris, and the Turl Street Art Festival in Oxford and has evolved as an eagerly awaited event of the art and culture calendar of Sri Lanka.

The George Keyt Foundation (GKF) conceptualised and launched Kala Pola in 1993, and since 1994 it has enjoyed the sustained patronage of the John Keells Group, as part of its corporate social responsibility. This uncurated visual art fair aims to consistently elevate the visitor experience, expanding its reach to include more artists and attract a broader audience of both local and international art enthusiasts, consequently generating increased participation and income for the artists. The event’s success also stems from its networking and learning opportunities, with Kala Pola being an event at which artists from different levels of seniority and regions of Sri Lanka converge, fostering an environment of collaboration.

Malaka Talwatte, the Chairperson of the George Keyt Foundation stated, “The GKF’s core objective has always been to catalyse ‘Opportunity for Art’, particularly for local artists, and Kala Pola is a flagship endeavour in this respect. We are grateful to the John Keells Group for their continued partnership over the past three decades which has enabled Kala Pola to sustain and evolve. Kala Pola is now a major tourist attraction having established itself as one of Colombo’s iconic events.”

Nadija Tambiah, President Legal, Secretarial, and Corporate Social Responsibility at John Keells Group, emphasised, “Over its three-decade journey, Kala Pola has steadfastly provided an uncurated, dynamic platform for Sri Lankan artists, forming an integral part of John Keells Group’s commitment to fostering Sri Lanka’s Arts & Culture. The Group also strives to highlight the economic potential of the country’s creative economy while supporting the development of an ecosystem that nurtures creativity. We also hope that by providing platforms for storytelling and expression we can contribute towards a shared understanding of our nation’s history and thereby enhance our social cohesion.”

Arts & Culture is one of the six focus areas of John Keells Foundation – the CSR entity of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), the largest conglomerate listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, operating with over 70 companies in 7 diverse industry sectors. With a history of over 150 years, the John Keells Group provides employment to over 14,000 persons and has been ranked as Sri Lanka’s ‘Most Respected Entity’ for the last 18 Years by LMD magazine. John Keells Holdings PLC was ranked first for the third consecutive year in the ‘Transparency in Corporate Reporting Assessment’ by Transparency International Sri Lanka. Whilst being a full member of the World Economic Forum and a participant of the UN Global Compact, JKH drives its CSR vision of “Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow” through John Keells Foundation and through the social entrepreneurship initiative, ‘Plasticcycle’, which is a catalyst in significantly reducing plastic pollution in Sri Lanka.

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