The 30th Year of Kala Pola, Sri Lanka’s open Air Art Fair, a resounding success
The 30th year of Kala Pola, Sri Lanka’s Open Air Art Fair, was celebrated recently in a riot of colour along Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7. A long-term collaboration of the George Keyt Foundation and John Keells Group, Kala Pola is Sri Lanka’s largest and longest-running platform for artists and sculptors to showcase their talent and connect with buyers, industry professionals and the local art community. As the first art fair held since the COVID pandemic, the event drew a tremendous response, attracting 312 adult artists and 358 child artists and an estimated 33,000 visitors.
Gayani Perera, a first-time artist participating at Kala Pola, said: “This event was a good opportunity for me to network and interact with other artists and visitors. Now I know the preferences of the visitors and can prepare better. I brought around 36 paintings and sold 22 of them. I want to thank the George Keyt Foundation as well as John Keells Foundation for this opportunity!”
The official ceremony was graced by His Excellency Paul Stephens, the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives, as the chief guest together with The George Keyt Foundation Chairman, Malaka Talwatte and other Trustees and the Chairperson of the John Keells Group, Krishan Balendra accompanied by the senior management of the John Keells Group.
Addressing the audience, H.E. Paul Stephens said, “Art and Culture are a critical component of any society and are important in aiding social development and inclusion. They are also important sectors that contribute to economic growth and development, which are of particular importance to Sri Lanka, right now.”
Krishan Balendra, the Chairperson of John Keells Holdings PLC, said “Kala Pola has evolved over the years to be the primary platform for artists from all over the country to showcase and promote their work and support their livelihoods. Art & Culture is one of the six CSR pillars of the John Keells Group under the vision of ‘Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow’. We’re very proud to partner with The George Keyt Foundation as the sponsor and organiser of Kala Pola.”
Thanuja Jayawardena, a visitor to Kala Pola, shared, “It’s not an easy feat to bring together artists from all over the country, and the people who come for this event get a chance to experience and enjoy a variety of different art and styles in one stretch! I’m someone who has come to Kala Pola almost every year and made sure to find time to attend this year as well”
The 30th year of Kala Pola was a resounding success for artists and visitors alike, generating sales estimated at Rs. 35 million excluding commissioned art. Meanwhile, 110 children were hosted at the Children’s Art Corner managed by Elephant House where budding artists could experiment with paints and clay under the guidance of Cora Abraham teachers. The event was supported by 150 John Keells Group volunteers. In addition to its focus on visual art, Kala Pola also showcased a kaleidoscope of Sri Lankan performing arts including dance, drumming and folk singing in a carnival-like atmosphere.
As a 30th year commemoration, Kala Pola 2023 featured a “Top Five Artists Award” adjudged by a panel of art experts. The winners, in no particular order, Aloka Bandara, Chaminda Bandara, Kasun Manoj, Ruwan Mahindapala and Sandeepa Vithanage were awarded trophies and certificates at the official ceremony under the sponsorship of Nations Trust Bank, Private Banking.
The street fair is complemented by https://www.srilankanartgallery.com, the digital platform hosted by John Keells Foundation to showcase Sri Lanka’s visual artists throughout the year.
Art and Culture are one of the six focus areas of John Keells Foundation – the CSR entity of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerates in the Colombo Stock Exchange operating over 70 companies in 7 diverse industry sectors. With a history of over 150 years, John Keells Group provides employment to over 14,000 persons and has been ranked as Sri Lanka’s ‘Most Respected Entity’ for the last 17 Years by LMD magazine. JKH has placed first for the third consecutive year in the ‘Transparency in Corporate Reporting Assessment’ by Transparency International Sri Lanka. Whilst being a full member of the World Economic Forum and a participant of the UN Global Compact, JKH drives its CSR vision of “Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow” through John Keells Foundation and through the social entrepreneurship initiative, ‘Plasticcycle’, which is a catalyst in significantly reducing plastic pollution in Sri Lanka.
Venora Lanka Power Panels to set up assembly plant in Australia
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Sri Lanka- based, export- oriented manufacturer, Venora Lanka Power Panels (Pvt) Ltd, with a state of the art electric panel factory at the Export Processing Zone, Biyagama, will set up an assembly plant in Australia.
“Once we set up the electric panel assembly plant in Australia, we will export all our panels from Sri Lanka and that plant will do 30 percent value addition to the product to supply that market, the company’s chairman/ Managing Director, engineer Sagara Gunawardena told The Island Financial Review.
Gunawardena said that the company is a value- addition assembly plant and he would be investing AUS $ 2 million for the project to be set up in Melbourne and hire 100 engineers and other professionals. He explained that the venture has enormous potential.
Venora Lanka provides power panels to mega projects in Sri Lanka and exports to Bangladesh, Maldives, Kenya, Ethiopia, Seychelles and Myanmar. Panel assembling is strictly in compliance with IEC 61439 standards, it was explained.
Gunawardena added: ‘I firmly believe that, being a truly customer focused organization, every employee and every process in the organization has to be aligned behind delighting customers. Therefore, at a time when the country is facing a major dollar crisis, my company would be aiming at bringing dollars into the country, while providing employment for local professionals, especially engineers.
‘At Venora Lanka we do not try to change customers’ mindsets. Instead, we take time to understand what they really want and focus our brand on delivering that. Venora is values- driven first and cost- driven second – creating a unique brand proposition.
‘Since the US dollar rate has come down, it is our concern that importers and suppliers do not change their prices, which is really affecting the manufacturing sector.
Company sources added: ‘The company has several wings of operation, such as local and overseas projects, switch board assembling, telecommunication infrastructure installations, earthing, lighting and surge protection, incorporating world renowned brands.
‘Venora Lanka Power Panels is the first Sri Lankan company to receive the licence, in accordance with the UK Trade Mark Act 1994, to use the trade mark “Best Enterprise”. It won a global award at the event, ‘Golden Awards for Quality and Business Prestige’, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2015.
‘Within a short span of time, with the perfect blend of progressive thinking and expertise, Venora Group has expanded to consist of, Venora International Projects, Venora Telecom, Venora Industrial Solutions and Venora Lanka Power Panels (BOI approved). Further, Venora has established its overseas presence through Venora Engineering Kenya and Venora Engineering Myanmar.’
Share market moves into positive territory; indices up
By Hiran H. Senewiratne
CSE trading got off to a positive note yesterday but during the last session of the day the momentum slowed. However, the market is now moving towards positive territory following the Central Bank announcement of a downward trend in interest rates, market analysts said.
Amid those developments the market witnesses improvements in both indices and in the turnover.
The All- Share Price Index up by 12.8 points and S and P SL 20 rose by 6.97 points. Turnover stood at Rs 710 million with one crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH which crossed 430,000 shares to the tune of Rs 60.2 million; its shares traded at Rs 140.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; JKH Rs 212 million (1.5 million shares traded), Access Engineering Rs 44.7 million ( three million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 34.5 million (264,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 28.6 million (5.3 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 23.8 million (4.7 million shares traded), Capital Alliance Rs 22.9 million (615,000 shares traded) and First Capital Holdings Rs 19.2 million (574,000 shares traded). During the day the 31.4 million shares volumes changed hands in 9000 transactions.
Yesterday, the Central Bank’s US dollar buying rate was Rs 285.16 and the selling rate Rs 298.85.
Ceylinco Life appoints new COO and Deputy COO to strengthen leadership pipeline
Ceylinco Life has announced the appointments of Ranga Abeynayake and Samitha Hemachandra as Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Operating Officer respectively, following the creation of the two positions as part of the Company’s leadership pipeline for the next decade and beyond.
Abeynayake has been with Ceylinco Life for 25 years and is an Executive Director and the Company’s Deputy Chief Financial Officer, while Hemachandra has been with the Company for 23 years and is the General Manager – Marketing.
“These appointments add further strength and depth to the management structure and look at our leadership requirements for the next 10 to 15 years,” Ceylinco Life Chairman R. Renganathan said. “Transparent and long-term succession planning is extremely important in the financial services sector, ensuring seamless continuity and consistency for all stakeholders.”
Ceylinco Life Managing Director and CEO Thushara Ranasinghe added: “Ranga Abeynayake and Samitha Hemachandra have been part of the management team that achieved market leadership for Ceylinco Life in 2004 and maintained that leadership to this date, unbroken for 19 years. They represent the core values and the vision and mission of the Company, and will be fully supported by the Board of Directors and the management team as they are groomed for key leadership positions.”
A Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka, Ranga Abeynayake counts over 25 years of experience in handling key management positions in the areas of Finance, Risk Management, Strategic Planning, Treasury Management and Project Planning. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM) of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Abeynayake previously served as Chairman/Non-Executive Director of Citizens Development Business Finance PLC., and currently serves as a Non-executive Director of Ceylinco Insurance PLC and as a Director of Serene Resorts Limited.
A Fellow (FCIM) and Chartered Marketer of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) – UK, and of the Certified Management Accountants (CMA) – Australia, Mr Samitha Hemachandra counts over 20 years of work experience in Brand Management, Customer Relationship Management, Marketing Management and Strategic Planning. He has been directly involved in designing, developing and implementing many integrated marketing campaigns for Ceylinco Life. Mr Hemachandra holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Western Sydney – Australia. He is a past Chairman of the Marketing and Sales Forum of the Insurance Association of Sri Lanka (IASL) and has been a member of the judging panel of the SLIM Brand Excellence awards for many years.
He is currently a Director of Ceylinco Healthcare Services Ltd., and a Non-executive Director of Citizens Development Business Finance PLC (CDB), which are subsidiary and associate companies of Ceylinco Life.
Adjudged Sri Lanka’s ‘Brand of the Year’ and ‘Service Brand of the Year’ by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) and ‘Best Life Insurer in Sri Lanka’ by World Finance for the ninth consecutive year in 2022, Ceylinco Life was conferred the ‘Peoples Life Insurance Service Provider of the Year’ title at 2023 SLIM Kantar Peoples Awards for the 17th consecutive year. Ceylinco Life has been the country’s leading life insurer for more than half of the 35 years it has been in existence. The Company was also ranked the ‘Most Valuable Life Insurance Brand in Sri Lanka’ by Brand Finance and certified a ‘Great Workplace’ in Sri Lanka for the third consecutive year in 2022. Ceylinco Life has close to a million lives covered by active policies and provides innovative life insurance solutions which offer protection while de-risking the goals and ambitions of the Company’s policyholders.
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