Traditional art tour with an award-winning craftsman
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Creative arts are an integral part of Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage. Sri Lankan art can be traced back over 2,000 years with examples ranging from sophisticated frescoes and wall paintings found in ancient palaces and temples to unique painted wooden masks used in ceremonies, dances and rituals. In the last few centuries, batik has also become an inherent parts of Sri Lanka’s arts and crafts history. These ancient art forms are still very much alive today and the artists who produce them usually do so in small villages out of their own home as a family business, selling their wares on to bigger shops in Colombo. Spend a morning or afternoon with a mask making artist who will give you exclusive access into the homes of the local artists of Ambalangoda, a small coastal city famous for its arts and crafts, where creativity seems to line every street and inspiration is everywhere from the beautiful ancient temples to the stunning coastline where the fishermen sell their catch of the day.
EXPERIENCE DESCRIPTION: You will meet your hosts at their house in Ambalangoda, just a 45 minute drive away from Galle. Sit with them for a a king coconut and an introduction before they whisk you off in their Mini Mo to the local temple, which has been an inspiration to many artists in the area. If the drive around the area in an open-air classic car wasn’t enough of a adventure, the next few hours spent doing a whistle-stop tour from workshop to workshop is a fast-paced cultural experience full of interesting surprises. Visit the home and workshop of Nandana Rajapakse, a prominent batik artist where you will stop for a cup of tea with Nandana himself. After this loop through the local market and the harbor to the home of a mask maker. From there, make your way over to the puppet workshop before driving through cinnamon plantations and up a small hill to a serenely quiet temple housing Asia’s largest reclining Buddha. Finally, head back to your hosts’ house for homemade snacks and tea.
YOUR HOSTS: Your hosts are a kind and friendly young couple based in Ambalangoda. The husband is an established artist and craftsman who sells much of his work to Barefoot, one of Sri Lanka’s leading arts and crafts stores. He also has a small shop in Galle which features some of his and his family’s work, among which you will find wood carvings, masks, and batik. His wife brings light and life to the experience, with thoughtful commentary on the area and artists. She works for a travel company and has a keen interest in Sri Lankan culture and tradition.
includes: A host, guided tour, a sarong to use whilst in the temple, transport, tea, and a king coconut.
duration: 3 hours
timings: early mornings or late afternoons.
what to wear or bring along: Light cool clothing and a camera!
important information: Due to the size of the car, only two guests can be taken at a time. Any dietary requirements/restrictions should be conveyed to SLIS prior to booking this experience. Alcoholic beverages are not served during the experience.
private or not? This experience is always private