Australian High Commission
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Also accredited to the Republic of Maldives


Australian High Commission


16 February 2011


The widely-acclaimed touring exhibition of Australian indigenous art, “Balgo: Contemporary Australian Art from the Balgo Hills”, was opened by the Mr Wimal Rupasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Culture and the Arts, in Colombo on 15 February.

The exhibition, which been described as “a riot of colour and energy”, explores the stories, lives and history of the Kukatya language speaking indigenous people in the remote Balgo Hills of Western Australia.

Introducing Balgo, the Australian High Commissioner, Ms Kathy Klugman, said “we are delighted to bring this exhibition to Sri Lanka. Contemporary indigenous Australian art is a dynamic expression of one of the world's most ancient artistic traditions. This exhibition of paintings and etchings features some of the finest pieces of contemporary Australian indigenous art ever to tour internationally. Sri Lankan audiences will appreciate the stories and traditions depicted in these paintings and Sri Lankan artists and art-lovers will be inspired by the beauty of the images. I hope this exhibition will be an opportunity to build cultural linkages between our countries”.

The exhibition in Sri Lanka is timed to coincide with the three year anniversary of the Australian Government’s National Apology to Australia’s indigenous people. Ms Klugman said the National Apology had been described as an occasion for Australia to turn a new page in its history by righting the wrongs of the past. In this regard, Ms Klugman said she hoped for genuine reconciliation between communities within Sri Lanka too so that lasting peace and prosperity can be achieved for all.

About Balgo

Contemporary Balgo art emerged in the 1980s and created a shift in people’s understanding of indigenous art. Today, Balgo artists are playing a crucial role in creating deeper awareness and understanding of Australia’ indigenous heritage among all those who call Australia home.

Balgo artists draw their inspiration from the strong connection their people have with their traditions and the ways in which those traditions are being maintained and celebrated today. This exhibition, which includes 26 paintings and etchings, features some of the finest pieces of contemporary Australian indigenous art ever to tour internationally. It has toured the USA, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Nepal and India, and is scheduled to visit Bangladesh, South Korea and South America over the next few months.

The exhibition is being held at the JDA Perera Gallery, 46 Horton Place, Colombo 7 and is on until 2 March. The gallery is open: 10am-6pm Monday-Friday, 11am-5pm Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.

Media contact: Nazreen Marikkar on 2463243