Saskia Fernando Gallery presents ‘Art in Curfew’ series


By Dimithri Wijesinghe

On 15 April, Saskia Fernando hosted their very first online live open studio as part of their “Art in Curfew” series. The first guest featured on the live video stream was their very own Firi Rahman.

The live stream, which aired at 3 p.m. on the Saskia Fernando Gallery Instagram page, had Firi Rahman open up his studio for art enthusiasts, aspiring artists, and anyone else who may be interested in taking a peek into what an artist’s studio looked like.

Firi, best known for being engaged in the contemporary art scene in Colombo, shared his thoughts on the relevance of his last exhibition which involved a visual storytelling project using participatory photography and creative works in today’s context. He walked the audience through his practice with hyperrealistic drawing. He also shared the direction of his next exhibition and of course his experience of Covid-19 and how his “We Are From Here” project plans to document their experiences. Prior to the live stream, potential viewers were encouraged to submit questions via inbox of the Gallery’s socials.

Saskia Fernando Gallery, as most in the Colombo art scene would be familiar, is a contemporary art gallery representing the foremost established and emerging artists living in and/or are originating from Sri Lanka.

Representing both local and international artists who have a connection with the local art scene, the Gallery, while hosting exhibitions monthly in the Colombo space, has collaborated for exhibitions internationally in London, Dubai, and Singapore.

To inquire about having to move their activities online and about the Art in Curfew series in particular, we spoke to Saskia Fernando. She shared that the current situation we are in with everyone else around the world is an unpredictable one and that it is constantly evolving and so we cannot say for certain how anyone will or plans to proceed. However, the gallery itself, according to Saskia, has always maintained an active online presence.

“When you are working with the international art world, being online is essential. it is important to keep things moving and everyone at present happens to be online,” she said.

About the series itself, she stated that they have looked into opening as many artist studios as possible and that she hopes it would be a valuable piece of content for anyone with an interest in art and even those who are looking to be inspired or are simply looking for content online to keep them occupied and grounded.

She shared that opening up an artist’s studio could prove to be something of interest to many people. “It is always interesting when an artist opens up their homes and their studios,” she said, also sharing that the Gallery might actually continue with the series even after the curfew has been lifted.

The Gallery has continued on with their lives, hosting a live stream on 18 April with Fabienne Francotte, where she shared her most recent body of work – an ongoing series that began on residency in Nepal – and discuss how life in Sri Lanka has played a role in the evolution of her practice while sharing her current work space, providing more insight into how to work in transitional spaces.