Barefoot Gallery.

The alpha and the omega of local galleries. Any tour of city’s art-spaces must begin or end at the Barefoot Gallery. Under different names this space – a large, bright, high ceilinged room to the right of the rear entrance to the Barefoot compound, has been an essential part of the city’s art-scene since the 1970s. Any successful Sri Lankan artist will end up displaying his/her work here multiple times during the course of their career. After almost 50 years bringing artists and their work into the limelight the space still remains on the cutting edge of the city’s art scene. That’s partly a facet of the sheer number of exhibitions held here. There is always something on display and usually several shows a month so it’s ever-changing and to keep up you’ll find yourself visiting again and again.

What you’ll find: Everything. If it’s local and it’s art at some point it will be in Barefoot. From contemporary artists to paintings by respected figures from the 43 group – portraits, posters, photographs and visual installations. On our latest visit, we had a look at ‘Loot From the Loft’ which featured work by a number of contemporary Sri Lankan artists- including Mahen Chanmugam and Druvinka Madawela.

Prices: Ranging broadly from Rs. 50,000 – Rs. 250,000 at this exhibition with prints and posters for much less. Of course the prices vary considerably from exhibition to exhibition depending on the artist but you can often pick up work for less than Rs. 50,000 – which means that many of those who currently just pop into Barefoot to buy the lovely handloom material, or sip an iced-tea at the cafe should give some serious thought to making a purchase.

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