DeSilva + Bawa – Craft + Architecture

De Silva + Bawa – Craft + Architecture” was an exhibition held at the Urban Island Artspace from 23 January to 6 February 2020 attracting thousands of visitors.


The exhibition was organised to celebrate the work of Ms De Silva as a major figure in Sri Lankan design and to showcase the talent of the artisan cooperatives she founded.  It used the celebrations underway for “Bawa 100” as a focus, by exploring the integration of Ms De Silva’s craft into the iconic architecture of Geoffrey Bawa.


The exhibition was jointly developed by the Design for Sustainable Development Foundation, Urban Island and ADM Architects Colombo.  Others in the consortium included AOD Design Academy, the Aluwihare Heritage Centre, the Geoffrey Bawa Trust (particularly Channa Daswatte), CIT and the Lunuganga Trust. 

The exhibition was designed and curated by Amila de Del of ADM Architects.  Items displayed included ceiling panels, wall panels, flags, clothing, tableware, sculptures, and wooden artifacts.  

John Keells Foundation was the corporate partner for the exhibition and Wijeya Newspapers were the exhibition’s media sponsors. 

A highlight of the exhibition was the visit of 28 artisans from Aluwihare Heritage Centre to see the exhibition on 1 February (after first visiting Cinnamon Bentota Beach to view the batik ceiling they created).  

Another highlight was the lecture by Channa Daswatte on 1 February at Colombo Innovation Tower reflecting on his experience of working with Ena de Silva and Geoffrey Bawa.