Published on: March 27, 2024

President issues instructions to reopen the National Art Gallery before year’s end

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, during an inspection tour yesterday (26), visited the John de Silva Memorial Theatre and the long-delayed National Art Gallery. Despite construction commencing in 2011, both projects remain incomplete.

President Wickremesinghe instructed officials to expedite the opening of the National Art Gallery before the year’s end, emphasizing the need for consensus among artists and architects. He also pledged government support for financial allocations. Additionally, he highlighted the demand for high-standard, affordable theatres in Colombo, questioning if such facilities could be provided following the completion of the John de Silva Theatre.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of consulting dramatists before making final decisions on construction and maintenance projects. He directed the Ministry Secretary to explore options for reviving the Lumbini Theatre and the Nawarangahala to support the theatre and also instructed the Ministry Secretary to take steps to construct a drama theatre in Colombo’s Sudarshi Premises.

Emphasizing the need to establish a national cultural zone encompassing the Nelum Pokuna, Kalabhavana, John de Silva Memorial Theatre, Museum, and related areas, the President instructed the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to prepare a comprehensive report on this initiative. Additionally, he urged officials to enhance Sri Lanka’s museum system to international standard and tasked them with identifying a suitable country for mentorship in this regard.

Secretary of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Somaratne Vidanapathirana, Additional Secretary Thilak Hettiarachchi, Director General of the Department of Cultural Affairs Yasintha Gunawardena, the team of architects from the University of Moratuwa who designed these buildings and the Navy officers who are in charge of the National Art Gallery renovations joined this event.

Prof. Praneeth Abhayasundara, Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara, Parakrama Niriella, Mohamed Safeer and Saman Athaudahetti also spoke on behalf of the artists.

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