The National Art Gallery- A National Disgrace.

Is this the worst ‘National Gallery’ in the world?

I dropped in at our nation’s premier public art gallery the other day to find it in shambles. Now the National Art Gallery at Green Path has never been one of the world’s great art collections but its current state is deeply unacceptable – it’s quite possibly the worst national-level art gallery in the world.

The entire collection is devoid of even a single label or explanation so working out which painting is by which artist is a matter of pure guesswork. Is it from the 80s or the 1880’s by Ivan Pieris or a kid from the art-school up the road- it’s impossible to tell. There is actually not one smidgen of writing in the entire gallery (perhaps it’s super post-modern?) but this lack of labeling isn’t even the major problem.

The real issue here is the rank neglect- the paintings, whoever they are by, are actively decaying- frames are broken, there is visible damage from water and damp, large patches of mold and in at least one case the glass front of a painting is completely and visibly shattered. I really can’t imagine there are ‘national’ galleries elsewhere that display paintings with shattered fronts. Given that billions of rupees seems to be available for beautifying, particularly the wealthier parts of the city – Cinnamon Gardens, Rajagiriya,- it seems like something of an omission that no one has made effort to beautify what should be among the city’s major repositories of beauty.

Spot the damage and mold.

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