The Udayshanth Fernando Foundation (UFF) in association with Saskia Fernando Gallery is pleased to announce the first grantees of the A4A Production Fund; Randika de Silva, Lojithan Ram and Aruni Dharmakirti. These young artists will be provided financial support to work on their proposed project, receive mentorship during the course of the project and be provided a location to exhibit their work in 2022. The completed projects will be featured online via The Udayshanth Foundation website to be launched in the same year.
The A4A Production Fund was established in October 2021 with the aim of lending support to emerging contemporary Sri Lankan artists due to chronic underfunding of the local arts industry. With the support of artists who generously donated their works to the fundraiser and a judge panel consisting of Ms. Sonal Singh, Director of Christies India, Dr. Sanjana Hattotuwa, Founder of Groundviews, Prof. Jagath Weerasinghe, Artist and Archaeologist alongwith the Directors of the UFF the artists were shortlisted based on their proposals received via Open Call. The fund, created within the doors of Saskia Fernando Gallery, the A4A generates funds from the sale of limited edition poster prints donated by artists working with SFG. The entirety of profits, LKR 415,000/- collected within the three-month duration of the fundraiser will be channeled toward covering the production costs of artists for a year as they create a body of work. Once completed, this body of work will remain entirely in the ownership of the artists, physically and intellectually, whilst receiving promotion from Saskia Fernando Gallery. The artists were selected via an ‘Open Call’ with a specified set of parameters and criteria. After an exterior panel consisting of Professor Jagath Weerasinghe (Artist & Archaeologist), Ms Sonal Singh (Christies India Managing Director) and Mr Sanjana Hattotuwa (Founder of Groundviews and Ashoka Fellow) made their final selections of artists based on the proposals provided, the funds will be divided up between the finalists who will receive ongoing mentorship and access to the patronage and curatorial networks of SFG. At the core of the A4A is the desire to create a cycle of reinvestment in the Sri Lankan art community.
The UFF was established in 2020 with the aim of lending support to emerging and established contemporary Sri Lankan artists. The need for benefaction within the arts industry is more apparent than ever in the wake of the pandemic, but at no time is it more clear how chronically underfunded artists and the institutions that support them are. When things take a turn for the worse people lean on the arts for enrichment and yet the art community is always the first to suffer from neglect. The UFF was conceptualized by Udayshanth Fernando, founder of Paradise Road, considered the leading design brand in the island with a focus on lifestyle that embodies timeless taste and style. As its inaugural initiative in 2020, the UFF donated a collection of works by pioneering contemporary Sri Lankan artists Jagath Weerasinghe and Chandraguptha Thenuwara to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In order to further facilitate this preservation and exposure, the UFF is planning to publish a book revolving around the private collection of Udayshanth Fernando which will provide greater understanding and broader access to modern and contemporary Sri Lankan art and heritage.
“The Foundation was born with the objective of elevating the local arts industry. The UFF believes in introducing the richness of Sri Lankan art to a global audience as a route to ensure its preservation and future growth. Moreover, an over emphasis on solely buying art to support art actually has an adverse effect on the artist’s career; instead, a focus on patronage that goes beyond simply collecting is essential to the industry’s survival.” shared Udayshanth Fernando, Founder of the UFF.