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Photography & Art


The 43rd Group

A group of contemporary artists founded by one of Sri Lanka’s best-known public figures, Lionel Wendt (barrister, musician and photographer).

Galleries in Colombo

  • National Art Gallery – mostly portraits, sometimes exhibitions of contemporary artists.
  • Lionel Wendt Centre – contemporary art and craft exhibitions. Also stages changing programmes of musical events.
  • Sapumal Foundation – Once the home of artist Harry Pieris, his studio still has his easel and paints as he left them. The best examples of Sri Lankan art from 1920’s onwards.
  • Serendib Galleries - Specialised selection of old maps and prints, and changing exhibition of paintings, drawings and sculpture.
  • Eco House for the unknown artists to exhibit.
  • Barefoot Gallery has open spaces used to show paintings, photographs, sculptures, etc. and sometimes for live entertainment - where you’ll find homemade quiche and chocolate fudge cake (just for starters!) and a superb clothes, book and fabric store.
  • The Gallery, the Commons and Gallery 706 are attached to up-market cafés.
  • Elephant walk Gallery in Galle has a more contemporary collection of local artist's work. They will arrange export for you. They do cater for the export market so beware of high prices and offer a sensible bid price.


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Sri Lanka is the ultimate photogenic island, from the smiling, unembarrassed people and their colourful clothes, to the exotic and often dramatic scenery and wildlife.


You can buy film in Cargills (Colombo, Kandy, Bandarawela and Nuwara Eliya), check the use-by date and request film which has been kept in the fridge. Equipment is best brought with you. The heat and humidity can be damaging – keep silica gel crystals in your camera case. For wildlife photography high speed film and a zoom lens is a must.

What not to shoot without permission (to be polite)

  • Anything remotely connected to the military, e.g., in Colombo – the port and fort district.
  • No flash inside temples or on to murals.
  • Do not pose in front of or beside a statue of the Buddha.
  • Inside the cave temple complex at Dambulla
  • A Buddhist monk
  • A Muslim family