Arts and Crafts

Sri Lanka’s culture has always been adorned by the splendor of creative arts. Whether it is music, dance, or any other form of art, there is a true uniqueness that is embodied in every creation that is conceptualized. During this tour, you will have many opportunities to truly indulge in Sri Lanka’s many forms of creativity. You can watch a traditional dance show, wander amidst the old temples discovering timeless murals and paintings, collect some authentic crafts and masks, visit the art galleries in and around Colombo or attend the annual Galle Literary Festival which was listed by Harpers Bazaar as one of the six most appealing literary festivals in the world.

Art has been a part of Sri Lanka’s culture for as long as its existence. First practised as a form of religious devotion and remembrance in Buddhist temple, art in Sri Lanka has evolved for centuries to become what it is today.
The Dambulla Cave Temple, Sigiriya and the Three Temple Loop in Gampola are all great destinations to witness stunning paintings and frescos. The creations at these locations are all unique in both style, placement and rates of retention, but equally beautiful and inspiring.Contemporary Sri Lankan art can be explored in Colombo: wander round the National Art Gallery, and explore the abstract artwork displayed at the Saskia Fernando Gallery.

Arts and Crafts isn’t merely a means of showcasing creativity to the Sri Lankan man. For some it is a way of life and the main source of income. Vita industries such as drum making; mat weaving; handloom; wood carving and mask making contribute in a significant way to the country’s economy.

You will have the opportunity to get a hands on experience in this trade at a mask making workshop with a local artist in Galle. If you want to take back home a true sense of Sri Lanka, the creations found at Barefoot, one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent arts and crafts shops, will give you an excellent range of choices.

Dance is another important element of the Sri Lankan culture. Traditional dance forms in the country were once associated with special types of rituals that were performed as a means of expelling sickness and misfortune. Among the several dance types that have evolved over the centuries, the Kandyan, Sabaragamuwa (central province) and Ruhunu (low country) styles take prominence today– with their own identities in terms of dress, instrumentation, rhythms, movements and song.

During your stay in Sri Lanka you can enjoy a Kandyan Dance Show in the hill country or watch the Kandy Esala Perahera, one of Asia’s most acclaimed cultural pageants that takes on the street of the hill capital with scores of elephants, dancers and musicians.

Ambalangoda Art Tour

Ambalangoda is a small coastal city on the southern belt of SrI Lanka with a rich cultural identity. It is home to a range of beautiful Buddhist temples and a collection of fascinating arts and craft. While in Ambalangoda, you will be hosted by a local family. You can enjoy the refreshing taste of King Coconut water before taking their Mini Moke to visit the local temple. This temple which is tastefully built has provided inspiration to the artists of the region for centuries. You will then move on to a tour of a diverse range of artistic workshops in the area. During the tour, you will explore many traditional art forms including batik, puppetry and mask-making. Your last stop will be a quaint temple that stands on a hill covered in cinnamon. This temple is home to Asia’s largest reclining Buddha, making it a location of great religious significance. You will then get to visit your hosts’ house once again to relax and unwind with a cup of mouthwatering Ceylon tea.

Ariyapala Mask Museum

Sri Lankan culture and folklore have been enriched with traditional masks, which embodies a unique sense of mystique and wonder. They are used as a prop for theatrical performancers as well as an element of reverence during rituals. The art of mask making is one that is carefully preserved. Passed down from father to son, the art consists of intricate processes that give rise to colourful masterpieces. The Ariyapala Mask Museum in Ambalangoda is a great place to truly understand the diversity of masks in Sri Lanka and the craft involved in creating them. The museum has a workshop and library which is specifically designed to introduce the richness of the mask tradition of Ambalangoda.

Mask-Making Workshop

This experience at the Sithuvili boutique in Galle Fort will bring out the undiscovered artist in you. After getting a deep understanding of the culture of masks in the country, you will get the opportunity to create a Kolam mask yourself. You will be carefully guided by your host to draw the outlines of the design and carve each section using the specific techniques reserved for them. Your host will be an expert in the field with over 20 years of experience as a supplier for a leading arts and crafts store in Colombo.


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