Join us virtually for a series of discussions between scholars who have engaged with the Bawa Archives and contributed to the upcoming publication It is Essential to be There: Drawing from the Geoffrey Bawa Archives. The publication will accompany the forthcoming exhibition of the same name. Stay tuned for more information on both the book and exhibition.

Session 1:

Archives and Places

An overview of the Bawa Archives and the role of such repositories in studying Modern Architectural history by Shayari de Silva and Tariq Jazeel.

Shayari de Silva |  It is Essential to be There
Tariq Jazeel | Rendering Place
Moderated by Thilini Perera

Thursday, 24 June 2021
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Session 2: 

Resorts, Reports and Recollections

Shirley Surya and Meghal Perera use the archives to take a look at the Batujimbar Development in Bali and the Galle Face Green specifically, joined by Channa Daswatte who will share first-hand anecdotes to discuss the role of the drawings in Bawa’s practice.

Shirley Surya  | Place, Flows, and Transformations – Bawa in Bali
Meghal Perera | The Unbuilt Urban in Bawa’s Galle Face Green Report
Channa Daswatte | Drawing Stories
Moderated by Shayari de Silva

Thursday, 1 July 2021
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Session 3:

Maps and Modernism

Exploring the creation of a sense of place in Bawa’s work, Jyoti Dhar looks at ways of drawing Lunuganga particularly, and Sean Anderson examines relationships with Modern Architecture.

Jyoti Dhar | Lore of Lunuganga
Sean Anderson | Vanishing Points
Moderated by Shayari de Silva

Thursday, 8 July 2021
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Channa Daswatte joined Geoffrey Bawa’s architecture practice in 1991 and was the last partner of the firm. In 1998, he established MICD Associates, where he is a principal, in partnership with Murad Ismail. Channa is the Chairperson of the Galle Heritage Foundation and has worked on a number of architectural, conservation and curatorial projects, including the Corridors of Power Installation which was exhibited at the Dhaka Art Summit in 2018. Channa authored and edited Sri Lanka Style (2005), has written for and edited a number of publications including A+U and Sri Lanka Institute of Architect’s journal. Channa is also a trustee of the Lunuganga Trust and chairperson of the Geoffrey Bawa Trust.

Jyoti Dhar is an art critic with a focus on contemporary art in South Asia. She is a contributing editor for Art Asia Pacific and regularly writes for Artforum and The Sunday Times in Sri Lanka. Her writing has appeared in monographs and magazines including Aperture, Asian Art News, Even, Flash Art, Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia, Isskustvo Arts Journal, Modern Painters, Motherland, post at MoMA, Scroll Projects, Vogue India and WeAreOrlando. Her editorial work includes being founding editor of (Dubai), rapporteur and editor of City as Studio 02/03 (New Delhi), and assistant editor of The Ceylon Chronicle (Colombo). She has curated several workshops, exhibitions and residencies. In 2012 she was selected as a forum fellow at the Global Art Forum, in 2014 she won the Forbes India Emerging Art Writer of the Year award, and in 2017 she was awarded first prize at the International Award for Art Criticism.

Meghal Perera is an interdisciplinary researcher with interests in the politics of public space, critical mapping and environmental justice. She is currently working as a researcher for an ESRC-funded project implemented by the Institute of Development Studies, related to food security and infrastructure provision in off-grid urban communities in Colombo. In 2020 she worked as an assistant curator for the Geoffrey Bawa Trust, conducting archival research on the transformation of the built environment in postcolonial Sri Lanka and supporting curatorial research for exhibitions. She holds an MSc in Urbanisation and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Sean Anderson is Associate Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art. A Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, with a PhD in African Art, he has practiced as an architect and taught in Afghanistan, Australia, India, Italy, Morocco, Sri Lanka and the U.A.E. He has written books on South Asian ritual sculpture, the modern architecture of colonial Eritrea and co-edited a volume dedicated to contemporary architecture and design in Sri Lanka. In 2020, he co-curated the exhibition On Muzharul Islam: Surfacing Intention at the Dhaka Art Summit. At MoMA, he has organized the exhibitions Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter (2016-17) and Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age, 1959-89 (2017-18) alongside several collection galleries including the current Building Citizens and four iterations of the Young Architects Program at MoMA PS1. Co-organized with Mabel O. Wilson, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, the first exhibition at MoMA to feature the work of African American and African Diasporic architects, concluded in May 2021.

Shayari de Silva has been the Lunuganga Trust’s Curator of Art and Archival Collections since 2018. Shayari is the curator of the Bawa 100 Programme which  included the recent exhibition Decorative Arts in the Geoffrey Bawa Collection (2019) and  ongoing installation series The Gift (2019-20). She is the curator of the forthcoming exhibition It is Essential to be There: Drawing from the Archive, to open in December 2021. She has worked previously at the Yale University Art Gallery  (American Decorative Arts Department) and the Yale Centre for British Arts, where she was the Bartels Scholar in Building Conservation. She has also worked as an architect for 4 years both in Colombo and in New York. She was co-editor of Perspecta 51: Medium, the Yale Architecture Journal, published by MIT Press in 2018. She holds a BA from Yale University in Architectural History, Theory and Criticism, and a Master of Architecture from the Yale School of Architecture. In 2021 she worked on the collaborative publication exploring architectural awards at the Canadian Centre for Architecture titled How to: Reward and Punish.

Shirley Surya is Curator, Design and Architecture, at M+, museum for visual culture in Hong Kong. Since 2012, she has contributed to shaping the M+ Collections through her research of design and architectural production that engage with plural modernities and transnational knowledge networks in greater China and Southeast Asia. At M+, she co-curated In Search of Southeast Asia through the M+ Collections (2018), Mobile M+: NEONSIGNS.HK (2014), Building M+: The Museum & Architecture Collection (2014) and upcoming opening displays focusing on Hong Kong, Design and Architecture. Outside M+, she made curatorial contributions to Incomplete Urbanism: Attempts of Critical Spatial Practice (2016) and Yung Ho Chang & FCJZ: Material-ism (2012). Her writings have been published in EXPANSIONS: How will we live together? (2020), The Museum Is Not Enough (2019), Encyclopedia of East Asian Design (2019), The Impossibility of Mapping (Urban Asia) (2018), as well as journals including ARCH+, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Design and Culture, Singapore Architect, and A+U. Shirley is also a Nominator for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and jury member of Design Anthology Awards 2021. She received her BA in Media Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and MA in History of Design from the Royal College of Art in London.

Tariq Jazeel is Professor of Human Geography and founding co-Director of the Centre for the Study of South Asia and the Indian Ocean World at University College London (UCL) in the UK. He has written on the spatial politics of art, literature, music and architecture, particularly in the context of Sri Lanka, southern India, and the South Asian diaspora. He is the author of Sacred Modernity: nature, environment and the postcolonial geographies of Sri Lankan nationhood (2013) and Postcolonialism (2019), and co-editor of Spatializing Politics: culture and geography in postcolonial Sri Lanka (2009, with Cathrine Brun), and Subaltern Geographies (2019, with Stephen Legg). He is co-editor of the journal Environment and Planning d: Society and Space.

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