The 43 Group in Ceylon: Their Story

Rohan de Soysa,  copy of a PowerPoint Presentation made to the National Trust of Sri Lanka on September 29, 2016 by Rohan de Soysa transcribed into text format …. with coloured underlining [as distinct from that in black] being emphasis imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

The Origins: The `43 Group was the first modern art movement in Sri Lanka. It arose because a group of artists felt that the art being practiced and taught at the time was too academic and rigid; nor did it attempt to follow new developments in European art since the early 20th Century. They therefore decided to form a group more open to these new developments but with a distinct Ceylonese stamp and flavour.

Our `43 Group is called that because the inaugural meeting was held in 1943. It is NOT the 43rd Group or the Group of 43. Their main objective was the furtherance of Art in every way and they were not given to violence.

There was in fact another `43 Group formed in England in 1946; called that because there were 43 people present at the first meeting. This was a Jewish anti-fascist vigilante group of ex-servicemen who used violent tactics to try and disrupt fascist meetings. A later famous member was Vidal Sassoon the hairdresser who is credited with inventing the “Bob” hairstyle.

Looking back, it could be said that the foundation stone of the `43 Group was laid, quietly and without fanfare, long before it came into being, by Charles Freegrove Winzer, who showed both insight and foresight in teaching art. He was an Englishman who was appointed Government Inspector of Art in 1920 and lived here till 1931. Winzer believed that “the eternal qualities of art as shown at Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa should be studied and a continuity with them achieved…..this continuity is closer to the decorative conception of modern art than to the realistic true to life prettiness and cheap harmonies of academic achievement”. With Lionel Wendt he organized an exhibition of works by Geoffrey Beling and George Keyt in 1931.

Lionel Wendt returned from London in 1924 after qualifying as a lawyer and becoming an accomplished concert pianist. He had studied music at the Royal Academy under Oscar Beringer and with Mark Hamburg in Berlin. Though primarily a concert pianist he was interested in all forms of art. In the foundation of the house he built he buried a scroll, designed by George Keyt, which read May all honest endeavour in the service of beauty flourish therein and win its reward of inward content and the peace that is only in ceaseless effort.

Artists and people interested in art gathered at his house “Alborada”, 18 Guildford Crescent. Lionel Wendt extended his warm hospitality to them and many stimulating discussions took place. Prior to this he had already organized exhibitions for Keyt and Beling, one mentioned earlier with C F Winzer in 1931 and another in 1932 with Len van Geyzel.

One day someone, probably Ivan Peries, mooted the idea of forming a group. Wendt received this enthusiastically and suggested it be called the `43 Group, which all agreed was a good name.

The ten core members of the Group were from diverse backgrounds and some were rather “touchy”. Lionel Wendt was the nucleus who held them together as he was remarkably free of prejudices and had no wish to promote himself. He only wanted to bring out what was genuine, true and authentic in our culture and our people – hallmarks of a sincere leader. In spite of his key role he was happy being only a committee member.

But there were two kinds of people he could not abide. One was described in the old days as “humbugs” and the other those who, believing they were superior, spoke in degrading ways to those they believed were inferior. He overheard such a person speak rudely in a demeaning way  to a fine Kandyan dancer. He requested the man to apologise. When he refused Wendt gave him a resounding slap and forced him to do so.


Winzer was liberal minded and influenced George Keyt and Geoffrey Beling, who later became founder members of the `43 Group, by showing them illustrations of recent developments in European art. He collaborated with Lionel Wendt to organize exhibitions, in particular one of works by Keyt and Beling in 1931. Wendt later became the nucleus around whom the `43 Group formed.

Mudaliyar A C G S Ameresekere, a skilled academic artist, was the first teacher of both Justin Pieris Daraniyagala and Harry Pieris, at his school “Atelier d’Art”. David Paynter briefly taught both Ivan Peries and Aubrey Collette. J D A Perera was associated with Lionel Wendt and C F Winzer in organizing the Ceylon Art Club, which could be considered the forerunner of the `43 Group. He was quite open-minded in his approach to art and was often at loggerheads with Mudaliyar Ameresekere. Harry Pieris taught both Ivan Peries and Richard Gabriel.The Inaugural Meeting and Aims

The Inaugural Meeting was held on 29th August 1943. The official Minutes state that present were Lionel Wendt, Harry Pieris, George Claessen, Lester Peries, Ivan Peries, A C Collette and R D Gabriel. A committee of twelve was formed. They were W J G Beling, A C Collette, Ralph Claessen, J F P Daraniyagala, R D Gabriel, S R Kanakasabai, George Keyt, Manjusri Thero, Ivan Peries and Lionel with ex-officio members Harry Pieris as Hony.Secretary and George Claessen as Hony.Treasurer.

Subsequently, Lester James Peries stated that Manjusri Thero was present at the inaugural meeting and Aubrey Collette in a radio talk given in Melbourne stated that neither Manjusri nor Lester James Peries was present at it!

The Minutes state that the Group shall be called the `43 Group, that it exists for the furtherance of art in all its branches and that membership fee would be Rs. 5 per year beginning from 1st September. For exhibitions the committee may or may not appoint judges as the intention of the Group was that contributing artists would select their own work and all such would be exhibited. The group could invite non-members to exhibit with them. They gave each other space to express themselves creatively and thereby grow naturally as artists.

The Minutes of their meetings, such as I have seen, were always very short as they probably felt, rightly, that the effectiveness of Minutes was inversely proportional to their length!

Exhibitions and Sponsorships

The first exhibition was held from 20th to 28th November 1943 at 525 Darley Road, Colombo, at the premises of the Photographic Society. All takings at the door were donated to the Deaf and Blind School. Twelve artists exhibited 108 works. Walter Witharane – 17, George Keyt, Manjusri Thero and R D Gabriel – 13 each, George Claessen – 10, W J G Beling, A C Collette, J F P Daraniyagala and Ivan Peries – 7 each, R D Claessen – 6, Harry Pieris – 5 and Y J Thuring -2.

The exhibition evoked mixed reactions. One adverse comment was that some people were more thrilled with the titles of the pictures than with the pictures themselves. Another was that the strongest impression that the viewer had of the exhibition was that it was conceited. Positive comments made were that it was a stimulating relief from the pictures of old men with long beards, temple elephants and flamboyant trees; and that there were at least half a dozen works that would do credit to any exhibition anywhere in the world and more than three times that number of exhibits that would repay the closest attention.

The Group held a total of sixteen art exhibitions locally, the last being in 1967. All were organized by the Secretary, Harry Pieris, who also designed the catalogues.

They also sponsored performances of Kandyan dancing, a documentary of Rodin’s work, exhibitions of photographic reproductions of the Ajanta frescoes and of ancient Hindu and Buddhist art, prints and originals of French Impressionists, and the Hiroshima Panels by two Japanese artists depicting the horrific effects of the two Atom Bombs, weapons of mass destruction, dropped on Japan.

Pieris, Peiris and Peries

Now I would like to clarify the confusion arising from the various spellings of a surname. There are at least nine spelling variations of this name in English, as opposed to only one way of spelling it in Sinhala. The three relevant to the `43 Group are “Pieris, Peiris and Peries”.

Of “Pieris” there were two, Harry Pieris and Justin Pieris Daraniyagala. They were not related to each other. Of “Peiris” also there were two, L T Peiris Manjusri and Harold Peiris. They, too were not related to each other. Both “Daraniyagala” and “Manjusri” were added on later in life. Of “Peries” are two, Lester and Ivan, who were brothers.

On the other hand we have Harry Pieris and Harold Peiris, who were first cousins because their respective mothers, Lydia and Maude, daughters of Mrs Jacob de Mel, were sisters. Both incidentally were first cousins of C H de Soysa the well-known 19th century philanthropist and therefore grandchildren of Joseph and Francisca de Soysa of whose eleven children one died young.

Harry and Harold

To clear up the confusion between “Harry” and “Harold” I will briefly state what each did. Harry Pieris first studied art under Mudaliyar A C G S Ameresekere at his “Atelier School of Art”. He next studied art at the Royal College of Art, London, then in Paris for six years, after which following about two years in Ceylon he taught art at Shantiniketan for about three years before returning to Ceylon. He was the Secretary of the `43 Group, never married and was the founder of the Sapumal Foundation.

Harold Peiris attended St. John’s College, Cambridge University and did a Law Tripos. He was a close friend of Lionel Wendt and George Keyt. His second wife, Peggy, was George Keyt’s sister. He was a Trustee of Gotami Vihare, Borella, the land for which had been donated by his grandmother, Apolonia. He was the Life Trustee of the Lionel Wendt Memorial Trust.

Lionel Wendt

Lionel Wendt was born on 3rd December 1900. His father Henry Lorenz Wendt was a founder of the Amateur Photographic Society of Ceylon and his grandfather John Henricus de Saram an early President. His father often took him to A W Andree’s Hopetoun Studio where he learned the basics of an art he was later to revolutionise. Lionel’s mother was a keen social worker who organized concerts to raise funds. Lionel, who showed early musical ability, gave well received concerts from the age of eleven to help her. Later, before going abroad, he gave memorable concerts organized by himself. From 1919 to 1924 he studied Law in England and also furthered his musical abilities. After his return in 1924, he gave many highly acclaimed recitals, teaching and even playing until his death.

He realized that the way of life here retained a vitality that was lacking in more “progressive” countries and in the Western culture imposed on us. He felt that he could reveal this through imaginative, artistic photographs but not by classical music recitals. So, he began pursuing photography seriously in the early 1930’s. His range of subject matter included male and female nudes, landscapes, Kandyan dancers, workers, surrealist photos, montages, solarized photographs, portraits etc.

Though deeply and intensely committed to Ceylon he was open to developments in art abroad, including surrealist photography. He was particularly interested in and encouraged Kandyan dancing. Bernard Thornley, P J C Durrant and he started the Photographic Society of Ceylon in 1935. In 1938 Messrs Ernest Leitz & Co honoured him by giving him a one-man show in London. Only one other living photographer had been thus honoured. He set up Studio Chitrafoto in 1938 at the invitation of  D R Wijewardene. He played a key role in one of the finest early documentaries ever made, “The Song of Ceylon”. Basil Wright produced it and Wendt not only helped shape the film but was also the narrator.

He was a close friend of George Keyt from the time they were thirteen years old. He played a key role in dissuading Keyt from taking ordination as a Buddhist monk by convincing him that he could make a greater contribution to Society through his art and later encouraging him to concentrate of painting rather than poetry.

Though attracted to Keyt’s younger sister Peggy, a couple of earlier unfortunate episodes with the opposite sex had convinced him that he would not or could not be loved by them. Peggy later married Harold Peiris, a close associate of them both.

He died on 19th December 1944

Harry Pieris

Harry Pieris, born on 10th August 1904, was the eighth of eleven children, one of whom died young. He was interested in art from a young age, for the rest of his life. His early art education was at the ‘Atelier School of Art’ run by Mudaliyar A C G S Ameresekere. When he was eighteen years old he won first prize for “Animal Painting” at the All-Ceylon Industries Exhibition.

In 1923 he joined the Royal College of Art in London. He initially had difficulty in reaching the level of other students but persevered and succeeded, winning the prize for the best portrait. His diploma reveals his full name to be “Charles Henry Alfred Pieris”. As mentioned earlier, both his grandmothers were first cousins of Charles Henry de Soysa, the noted philanthropist. Perhaps he was named after him because his horoscope showed a tendency to philanthropy!

After that he spent two years in Ceylon and then went to Paris where he studied under Robert Falk. He became friends with Henri Matisse and met Justin Pieris Daraniyagala often. Paris was then a hub of artistic activity. Picasso, Rouault, Braque and Leger were some of the artists there. He worked at an atelier and two small galleries during his time in Paris.

In 1935 he went to Bengal where he taught art until 1938 at Rabindranath Tagore’s school at Shanthiniketan. He was recommended for this post by Sir William Rothenstein, who introduced him to Tagore as “as an artist of unusual ability who would serve as an ideal link between the art of the East and the West”.

He then returned to Ceylon and painted many perceptive portraits, not always to the sitter’s liking, as well as fine scenes of Colombo roads. His colour palette had been influenced by his time in India. He simplified and depicted the essence of a person or scene.

He was made the Hony.Secretary of the `43 Group when it was formed and remained so throughout. On Lionel Wendt’s death in 1944 he took over as the nucleus of the Group.

Feeling that the advantages he had benefitted from and the art he had collected over the years should be accessible to all he formed the Sapumal Foundation in 1974. He died on 14th March 1988 and by Last Will he left his house, art collection and library to it for the furtherance of art.

George Keyt

George Keyt was born on 17th April 1901. He was educated at Trinity College, Kandy, a Church School. In his young says he was fascinated by the Holy Family and the Crucifixion. His house being near Malwatte Vihare he later came under the influence of Ven. Pinnawela Dhirananda Thero, a poet-scholar. He was on the point of being ordained as a Buddhist monk but was dissuaded by his childhood friend Lionel Wendt, who persuaded him that he could make a greater contribution to Society through his art.

Later, possibly after meeting his second wife-to-be, his paintings featured Hindu and Buddhist themes in which rather voluptuous ladies figured prominently. They resonate with the art of Sigiriya and Ajantha. He is the most popular and widely collected artist of the group. Martin Russell wrote a book on him – the first on a `43 Group artist. He executed a wonderful mural on the walls of the Gotami Vihare, Borella. He also designed a large mural for “Expo 67” in Montreal, the preliminary sketch for which is at the Sapumal Foundation.

He described himself as a “spiritual voluptuary” and was also a prolific writer to the newspapers, including on Sinhalese folklore. Manjusri and he each executed a design for an exhibition by Asian artists, engraved on Steuben crystal, in 1956. He died on 31st July 1993.

Geoffrey Beling

Geoffrey Beling was born on 21st September 1907. He received his first art lessons from his father, W W Beling, an accomplished artist. When he was 19 years old he went to the J J School of Architecture to study architecture and also art. Due to his father’s death in 1928 he had to return to Ceylon prematurely.

His art has a formal character reflecting his architectural training. C F Winzer, the Chief Inspector of Art together with Lionel Wendt organised an exhibition of George Keyt’s and Beling’s paintings in 1931. When C F Winzer retired in 1932 he succeeded him as the Chief Inspector of Art and continued in that post until 1967. His duties meant he had less time for his own painting. Later on his increased Christian activity may have reduced his output further. He did the initial designs for the Lionel Wendt Memorial Art Centre at the invitation of its Chief Trustee, Harold Peiris.

He had a beneficial influence on art education in that he drew out a child’s innate creativity and encouraged other art teachers and inspectors to do likewise.

Cora Abrahams and Sita Kulasekera started the “Melbourne Art Classes” (now Cora Abrahams Art School) at his home. A later branch of this ‘Young Artists Group’ flourished for a while.

He died on 9th March 1992.

Justin F Peiris Daraniyagala

Justin F Pieris Daraniyagala was born on 20th July 1903. His early art education, like that of Harry Pieris, was at Mudaliyar Ameresekere’s ‘Atelier Art School’. Then he did a Law Tripos at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he also won a Boxing Blue. Next he went to the Slade School of Art in London, thence to Academie Julien in Paris. He exhibited in 1934-35 at the Leicester Galleries and there as well as at Redfern Galleries in 1937-38. After returning here he spent most of his time painting at the family estate in Pasyala but took a break to be the best man at his cousin S W R D Bandaranaike’s wedding.

He was not much given to selling his paintings though he did gift them occasionally. He is perhaps the finest artist of the Group.

Justin F Pieris and Paul E Pieris were sons of Sir Paul E Pieris the noted historian. When nationalist sentiments swept the land Justin adopted their precolonial name spelling it as “Daraniyagla”. Paul, a skilled wildlife artist spelt his as “Deraniyagala”. His son Ranil was a fine abstract artist and also did numerous etchings.

He died on 8th January 1992.

Aubrey Collette

Aubrey Collette was born on 5th September 1920. He taught art at Royal College for some time. He became a master cartoonist. His draughtsmanship was impeccable and his insight into political realities – astonishing. He delighted in pricking the puffed up pomposities of politicians, though without malice. Nevertheless it got him into deep trouble. He had to leave the country because of this, emigrating first to England and then to Australia.

In Ceylon he created the hapless Citizen Pe-r-r-ra, victim of politics, politicians and an unfriendly providence. In Australia and Malaysia his work was well received and he won major awards. He created another character, Sun Tan, for those countries.

He died on 8th January 1992.

Ivan Peries

Ivan Peries was born on 31st July 1921. He was the most romantic and poetic of the `43 Group artists. He was a close friend of Aubrey Collette’s, having met him while both were taking classes under David Paynter. He won a government scholarship to St. John’s Wood School of Art in England and studied there from 1946 to 1950 before returning home. Later he took classes under Harry Pieris, who became a life-long friend and mentor.

In 1953 he returned to London doing various menial jobs so that he could continue to paint – always of Ceylon scenes. He held many exhibitions and his works are in many important private and national collections. The early paintings were of people and still life’s while the later ones depict figures and houses often by the sea. Much later he started painting small paintings of figures in acrylic paints.

He died on 13th February 1988.

L T Peiris Manjusri

L T Peiris Manjusri was born on 28th October 1902 in Ambalangoda. He worked at an uncle’s workshop for a while. Enthralled by the sight of Buddhist monks seeking alms he entered the Buddhist order as a novice and was subsequently ordained in 1922. During the next ten years he learnt Pali and Sanskrit to pursue Buddhist studies better and became a reputed scholar.

In 1932 he went to Shantiniketan to study Chinese and art. While vacationing in Ceylon in 1934 he made copies of temple paintings on the walls of Sunandarama Temple, Ambalangoda, staying in situ. He took these with him to  Shantiniketan where they caused quite a sensation. Rabindranath Tagore, who was holding a one-man exhibition of his own paintings, gave him a space to exhibit jointly with him.

He was about to donate them to Shantiniketan when Harry Pieris, who was teaching there at the time, persuaded him that they belonged in Ceylon and bought them. He offered him Rs.6,000/- but Manjusri said that was too much and only took what he needed for his expenses. So, later, Harry sponsored his trip to Tibet and Sikkim, to take lessons from Abbot Uchima, court painter to the Tashi Lama, to enhance his artistic skills.

In 1937 he returned to Ceylon. Based at Gotami Vihara, Borella, he walked island-wide making copies of decaying temple murals to raise awareness of the need to preserve them. Later, he gave up robes, married and had three children all of whom are fine artists. He resigned from the `43 Group a few years after joining and being made a committee member at the inaugural meeting.

He won the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1979.

He died on 16th June 1982.

George Claessen

George Claessen was born on 5th May 1909. His early working life was spent in various parts of the island where he developed a strong love of nature. Though he belonged to a family who appreciated visual arts he began painting only when he was 29 years old, after joining the Port Commission as a draughtsman.

In 1947 he migrated to Australia where he had a one-man show but moved to England in 1949 where he lived thereafter, writing two small books of poetry there. He contemplated deeply and used line subtly, deftly and simply to reveal the essence of things. Later he added colour to reveal things in a mystical way. Finally, he used only colour.

He died on 1st May 1999.

Richard Gabriel

Richard Gabriel was born on 19th February 1924. When he was 17 years old his brother Edmund introduced him to Ivan Peries, who saw a drawing he had done of his late father, and encouraged him to paint. He won four prizes at the War Effort Exhibition; his mother, fine designer, who did pillow lace and crochet work, was elated.

Ivan introduced him to Harry Pieris, who taught him for free. At age 20 he was appointed art master of St. Joseph’s College.

His strong religious beliefs and empathy with the common man motivated his art. In 1952 he won a scholarship to the Chelsea College of Art in London. He was one of the artists who exhibited at the Venice Biennale and made quite an impression. So, in 1964 he was made an honorary member of “L’Acacademia Florentina della Artes el Disegno” founded in1564 to honour Michelangelo, at the 400th Anniversary celebrations.

He felt the common man aspired to “ … reach out for the idyllic life, where freedom meant the  freedom to dream, to be still….” These freedoms, alas, are fast eroding. His woodcuts, especially, capture the rhythms of rural life. His paintings and sculptures adorn many churches.

He was the last core member to pass on, on his 92nd birthday, 19th February 2016.

Other Exhibitors at the `43 Group Exhibitions

Apart from the core group, 35 other members and invitees exhibited with the `43 Group. We have works by 13 of them at the Sapumal Foundation Galleries. They are Noel Abeyasinghe, Gordon Davey, Sushila Fernando, Donald Friend, Swanee Jayawardene, Sybil Keyt, Stanly Kirinde, Sita Kulasekera (Richard Gabriel’s wife), Chandramani Thenuwara, Gamini Warnasuriya, Mohamed bin Dreiss Yacoubi, Neville Weereratne and Ranjit Fernando.

The other 22 were Edmund Blacker, R S R Candappa, Ralph Claessen, Susan Foster Greene, Peter Guerney, Chitra Gunasekera, Ashley Halpe, Nalini Jayasuriya, Terry Jonklaas, K Kanagasbapathy, S R Kanagasabai, Wyndham Lloyd, Edith Ludowyk, Marie Perera, P Premachandra, Tissa Ranasinghe, William Roberts, Shelton Thabrew, Y J Thuring, Nalini Wijenaike (first woman to exhibit – later mother of Senaka Senanayake) and Walter Witharane.

Crucial Side Support

  1. Ranjit Fernando

The overall impact of the `43 Group and its success owes much to the enthusiastic support it received from three key people who were outside the main circle of the Group.

Foremost among them was Ranjit Fernando. Surmounting the lasting effects of a crippling childhood illness he organized ALL the overseas exhibitions of the Group – the Venice Biennale, Paris, a few in London, Cambridge and the Sao Paolo Biennale in Brazil. These overseas exhibitions, well received by art critics in those countries, helped the `43 Group to gain recognition in their own land!

He was a talented artist in his own right and had an unerring eye for what was good and authentic in art, crafts and music. Later he gave up painting to pursue studies in traditional philosophy, edited many fine books and organized annual talks on that topic to commemorate Ananda Coomaraswamy, our foremost savant of the 20th Century.

  1. Neville Weereratne

If not for the comprehensive chronicles and record about the `43 Group painstakingly documented by Neville Weereratne much information would have been lost – a labour of love indeed. He was one of Richard Gabriel’s first students at St.Josephs’s College. Next he ‘apprenticed’ under Ivan Peries and thus met Harry Pieris and other Group members. He produced books on “The `43 Group” in 1993, “Richard Gabriel” in 1999, “The Sapumal Foundation Collection – A Select Catalogue” in 2009, “Sculpture of Tissa Ranasinghe” in 2013 and “A Tribute to Cora Abrahams” in 2014, amongst others.

  1. Harold Peiris

The unobtrusive philanthropist, Harold Pieris, must be given the high praise that is his due. He was a close friend of the Wendt brothers and George Keyt. He supported Keyt and his family when needed. He commissioned Keyt to paint murals on the inner walls of Gotami Vihare, Borella, the land for which had been donated by Apolonia, his father’s mother.

As Life Trustee of the Lionel Wendt Memorial Trust he was instrumental in constructing the Lionel Wendt Memorial Centre, financing much of it. It has become a place where “All honest endeavour in the service of beauty can flourish and win its reward of inward content and the peace that is only in ceaseless effort” as visualized by Lionel Wendt who buried a scroll in the foundations of the house which originally stood where the Centre stands today.

True Value of this Art

Ananda Coomaraswamy wrote that “Art contains within itself the deepest principles of life, the truest guide to the greatest art, the art of living”. The artists of the `43 Group developed their inmost selves and pursued their art in honest endeavour in the service of beauty. They thus produced some wonderful art, which in turn has enriched our lives. That is their true value, not the price of the paintings.

A work of art is something harmonious, balanced and meaningful, created by skillful use of line, space, colour, tone and texture. Why not reflect and arrange the various components of our lives to achieve the same? Encourage our leaders, too, to treat this land as a canvas and give all its components i.e. trees and forests, hills, rivers and lakes, insects, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals (including but not limited to humans) their due share of space so they can all thrive.

It is their ethical right and should be the foundation of our constitution in keeping with our true, genuine and authentic traditions and ideals, as the Kingdom of Bhutan has done. We can only then continue to enjoy, as much as we enjoy these art works, the pure air, pure plentiful water above and below ground, the biodiversity and mitigation of climatic extremes, which we would otherwise lose and indeed have lost quite a lot of already.


I would like to sincerely thank firstly Ranjit Fernando and then Harry Pieris for introducing me to the art of the `43 Group. I am greatly indebted to Neville Weereratne from whose writings I have quoted liberally. I also wish to thank Damayanti Peiris, daughter of Harold Peiris and Deborah Philip, granddaughter of Geoffrey Beling for their inputs. Also I acknowledge various postings on the Internet from which I have borrowed, sometime with a pinch of salt.

The Spirit of the `43 Group…..

The Spirit of the `43 Group lives on, via the Lionel Wendt Memorial Art Centre, the Sapumal Foundation and the Cora Abrahams Art School, all vibrant entities.


What I have shown, which I hope you’ve enjoyed, plus a whole lot more, can be seen at the Sapumal Foundation (admission free – donations welcome) open from Wednesdays to Sundays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

I thank the National Trust for giving me this opportunity to talk about the `43 Group and to you, the audience for coming and listening patiently.



Neville Weeraratne: “Aubrey Collette’s Satirical Work: A Appreciation,”  16 January 2021,

Srilal Fernando: Richard Gabriel:  A Personal Perspective,” 17 April 2016,

Samarth Singhal1Drawing (on) Politics: Aubrey Collette in Sri Lanka,” Chitrolekha International Magazine on Art and Design (ISSN 2231-4822), Vol. 6, No. 2, 2016














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