Anoli Perera

Article Bio Works Merits Projects Images www
beauty, body, consumerism, gender, sexuality
Visual Arts (collage, installation art, object, painting, sculpture)
America, North, Asia, Southern and Central
United States of America, Sri Lanka
created on:
June 10, 2003
last changed on:
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Sri Lankan artist, Anoli Perera was born in Colombo in 1962. She studied political science and international affairs to postgraduate level and was drawn into art-making while living in the USA for four years. Her paintings, sculpture and installation pieces incorporate found materials and she works on themes arising from her social context, most recently on women and the issues that confront them. As well as making art, she writes on art and organises events. She was a founder member of the Theertha artists collective which organises international artists workshops in Sri Lanka.
Artist, writer and arts organiser Anoli Perera was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1962. Her studies in political science, economics and sociology at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka were followed by a postgraduate diploma in international affairs. From 1988 to 1992 she resided in the USA and followed art education programmes in California and at Princeton, New Jersey. She now lives in Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka and works as a painter, sculptor and installation artist.

Perera writes on the techniques and themes of her work:

´My paintings incorporate the concept of ‘bricolage’ where fragments from different written texts, raw materials, objects and painted surfaces are juxtaposed together giving a textured surface. They also transcend the two dimensional aspect of painting. As a sculptor, I have worked with stone, steel, cement as well as junk material from motor car parts. At present I use cloth, thread, lace and paper as raw material for my sculptures and installations. My subject matter always comes out of various situations and experiences in the social context I live in. As such, my work reflects certain social and political issues relevant to the situation of my living. Recently, my work has focussed on "woman and the issues that confront her". My most recent ideas on art involve "dress as sculpture" and also using the process of dress-making as an art-making method.´

Her solo exhibition, ‘In the Entangled Web’ at Barefoot Gallery in Colombo in 2001, saw materials such as lace, beads, broken porcelain and thread used to weave a kind of ‘web’ placing the woman at the centre. Perera commented, ´I weave my work like a spider weaving its web. I see the woman as that spider. She weaves her complex net of social, economic and cultural relationships around her. It becomes her safety net as well as the nurturing cocoon of the family to whom she is bound.´

In 2002, Perera was selected for the Visiting Artist Program at the University of Wollagong in Australia. Also in 2002, she was awarded a residency at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, with the 2nd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale in Japan. She exhibited in ‘Crafty Thoughts’ a group exhibition of contemporary Sri Lankan artists at the University of Liverpool Gallery, UK in 2002. She has had several solo exhibitions in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Anoli Perera was a founding member of the Theertha Association for Contemporary Sri Lankan Visual Artists in 2000 and is currently Coordinator of the Working Committee. Theertha’s objective is to explore the exchange of ideas across borders – ethnic, regional and artistic. It is part of the South Asian Network for the Arts. Theertha held its first International Artists Workshop in 2001 in Sri Lanka, inviting artists from across South Asia for an intensive two week residency, based on the Triangle Arts workshop model. Perera is also involved in writing on art, organising and curating art events. She is a council member of Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts and a member of the Art Link International Artists’ Workshop Committee.
Author: Judith Staines


Anoli Perera was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1962. She took a degree in political science, economics and sociology at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka followed by a postgraduate diploma in International Affairs. She then lived in the USA between 1988 and 1992 where she followed art education programmes at Santa Barbara City College, California and the visual art school of Princeton, New Jersey. She currently works as a painter, sculptor and installation artist, based in Rajagiriya in the Western Province of Sri Lanka. She also writes on art, organises and curates art events. She is Coordinator of Theertha International Artists Workshops and was a founding member of the collective which is affiliated to the Triangle Arts Workshop.



Exhibition / Installation,
2003 Group exhibition, Jaffna, Sri Lanka 2002 Asian Art Festival, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan 2002 ´Crafty Thoughts´, University of Liverpool Gallery, UK 2002 2nd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Japan 1999 ´No Order Group´, VAFA Gallery, Ethul Kotte, Sri Lanka. Exhibition by group of artists to define new trends and directions in contemporary Sri Lankan art. 1998 ´Self Help´, travelling exhibition in containers held in Malmo, Vaxjo, Orebro and Stockholm, Sweden. Represented Asia.


Exhibition / Installation,
2003 Exhibition of paintings, Colombo, Sri Lanka 2001 ´In the Entangled Web´, Gallery 706, Colombo, Sri Lanka (commentary of middle class woman and life - sculpture & paintings, work with textile, thread, puppets and beads). 1999 ´My narrative´, Gallery 706, Colombo, Sri Lanka (using text as image while giving an autobiographical narrative of middle class life - paintings and collage works) 1998 ´The Vehicle Named Woman´, Heritage Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka (sculpture/installation which explored the way society constructs sexual scripts of women and how they get recirculated and reaffirmed through the media. Work used body parts from automobiles and scrap metal)


2002 FT2 Art Residency, 2nd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale Residency, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan
2002 Artist in Residence, Department of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, Australia
1999 Bunka Award, Special Achievement in Painting and Sculpture, Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Fund
1992 Young Artist of the Year, Young Contemporaries exhibition, National Art Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Crafty Thoughts

(19 July 02 - 09 September 02)


University of Wollongong

Visiting Artist programme 2002

Art Sri Lanka

Artists page with 1997 work.

Saturday Magazine

Review of 2001 exhibition, ´In the Entangled Web´.

Khoj International Artists Workshop

Review of Theertha International Artists Workshop, 2001, by Anoli Perera

France Sri Lanka Cultural Exchanges

Exhibition notice & image

Shakti productions

Film company website features images by Anoli Perera.
An Auspicious Moment
I Am the Queen
Psyche of a Traveller