Supporting art through empowering artists

  • Saskia Fernando on the A4A Production Fund


Saskia Fernando

Art, by its very nature, inspires conversation – be it positive or negative. Being able to connect with, appreciate, and most importantly, create art is one of humankind’s defining qualities. The value we place on art is subjective and is a topic that sparks much debate. But, art indisputably costs money to create. Not just in terms of the time and effort that an artist puts in, but in terms of actual supplies, a space to create art, and so on.

Not all artists are able to create their art without financial support, and this is not something limited to artists in the present day. Even the greatest of artists like Da Vinci and Michelangelo had sponsors and patrons who gave them the chance to be able to focus fully on their craft and create the masterpieces that they went on to create.

For all the development the world has seen, modern artists too sometimes need funding to allow them to practice their craft to their fullest, and, understanding this need, the Saskia Fernando Gallery, in collaboration with its artists and with the support of the Udayshanth Fernando Foundation launched the A4A (Artists for Artists) Production Fund earlier this month. 

Brunch spoke with Saskia Fernando Gallery Owner and Founder Saskia Fernando to learn more about A4A and how she hopes to empower artists to keep creating during this uncertain time. 

“The A4A Production Fund was an idea that came to us during the last lockdown just over a year ago,” Saskia shared, adding that a production fund for artists to be able to support the art industry is something that she has wanted to do for some years. “We noticed that it became quite popular for people to fundraise for various activities via silent auctions where artists were asked to donate work.” 

On speaking to artists, Saskia found that while many of them were in need of funding themselves, they were also willing to donate work to A4A in order to raise funds for the larger cause. “I then thought an interesting spin would be to ask the artists to create work but do an editioned print run of work donated to the fund and make it accessible to a wider audience,” Saskia said.

A4A’s first fundraising print run is a collection of posters by the artists Muvindu Binoy, Fabienne Francotte, Hashan Cooray, and Pakkiyarajah Pushpakanthan. “This is the first of several editions we will be doing,” Saskia explained. “Each edition will feature four to five artists and each series will be available through the year. We hope to support several through the year through A4A. We will be working with curators, art platforms, and freelance artists who need financial support. When we raise enough money, we will do an open call where artists can apply with a proposal of work and get access to the A4A Production Fund. This will not be just financial support, but also access to curators who will mentor them and give them feedback on their work.” 

The structure of this fundraiser means that with the release of new editions, the A4A Production Fund will be able to fundraise continuously throughout the year, especially with the support of artists of the Saskia Fernando Gallery, with Saskia sharing that all the artists she works with have volunteered to donate art to the A4A Production Fundraiser. 

The A4A Production Fund has been launched with the support of the newly established Udayshanth Fernando Foundation, where Saskia, her father, Paradise Road Group of Companies Chairman Udayshanth Fernando, and her sister, PR Concept Store Owner and Curator Annika Fernando are Directors. 

Speaking on the Foundation, Saskia explained that the Foundation has been established in her father Udayshanth Fernando’s name to focus on funding and supporting the Sri Lankan art scene with efforts like this fundraiser. “My father has been an art patron for many decades and this is widely known, but as a family, we wanted to formalise this support via foundation and support and extend those efforts even further,” Saskia said. “The A4A Production Fund is one way we’re doing this, and we are looking at doing more promotion of art via publications, funding, and mentorship. Our intention is to continue to support the local art industry locally and promote it on an international scale.” 


All proceeds of the A4A Production Fundraiser will go towards selected artists, providing them with the funds to work on their chosen project, in addition to access to curators and mentors. Each poster in the series is available for purchase at $ 100. For more information, please visit the A4A Production Fundraiser Viewing Room on the Saskia Fernando Gallery website.