It is Essential to be There: Drawing from the Geoffrey Bawa Archive

House in Mirissa: Site Plan, drawing by Waruna Gomis, 1997

Geoffrey Bawa’s distinct practice as an architect began with the purchase of an abandoned rubber and cinnamon estate, which he would transform into the garden that is now Lunuganga, in 1948 – in the wake of the country’s newly gained independence from the British Empire. From this very first work the practice is marked by architecture that seeks to understand the notion of place.

In seeking to understand Bawa’s work through the lens of the Archives, comprised primarily of architectural drawings, a portrait of the practice comes in to focus. The drawings are unusually descriptive of place, beyond its location on a map, and place is explored in the many layers of culture, history and environment that characterize a site.

Although Bawa’s work has been exhibited in multiple venues in the UK, USA, Australia, India, Brazil, Singapore and Germany, this is the first exhibition on Bawa’s work to be shown in Sri Lanka.

This exhibition proposes an examination of the drawings in the Bawa Archive, with the hopes of looking closer at the practice itself and many of the unique features that characterized it. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue publication including essays by Sean Anderson, Shirley Surya, Tariq Jazeel, Jyoti Dhar, Shayari de Silva and a foreward by Channa Daswatte.


Venue: To be confirmed

IT IS ESSENTIAL TO BE THERE: DRAWING FROM THE GEOFFREY BAWA ARCHIVE (An anthology of essays on the Geoffrey Bawa Archive, previously conceived as the catalogue for the exhibition under the same name). Edited by Shayari de Silva with texts by Channa Daswatte, Sean Anderson, Shirley Surya, Tariq Jazeel,  Jyoti Dhar and Shayari de Silva. Published by the Geoffrey Bawa Trust.
Date: August 2020