01.Kalabooshana Gunasiri Kolambage



Kalabooshana Gunasiri Kolambage

He is probably the only Sri Lankan artist who can boast of over 60 years of acquired mastery in practicing all types and subjects with a wide spectrum of art styles in multimedia.  Gunasiri is the recipient of 20 prestigious prizes and awards including the Kalabooshana state award in 2016 along with the Suwanda Padma Gold award in 2020 in recognition of his 6 decades of yeoman service to field of art in the country ( 1959-2020). From adman to artist, Gunasiri’s journey of self- expression and finding his niche has been both admirable and inspiring.

This veteran artist, reputed for his masterpieces with multimedia, Graduated from the College of Fine Arts, Colombo, having studied under old masters such as Stanley Abeysinghe and H.B. Perera (1954 – 1959). Thereafter he specialized in the watercolor medium under   master water-colorists G. S. Fernando and Susil Premaratne (1959-1961).

Since 1961, Gunasiri has held 12 solo exhibitions both locally and internationally, having his work featured in Australia and Spain ( 1961-2018). He participated in 8 group exhibitions locally and 16 internationally in France, Italy, UK, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Bangladesh (1978-2020).

Starting his career at J. Walter Thompson (PVT) Ltd in 1959 as the Chief Artist, Gunasiri was promoted to Art Director in 1963. From 1966-1968 he did a stint at JWT, India in the Bombay Office where he specialized in making animated films. On returning to the country he joined the advertising company AJN Seneviratne & Sons Ltd. as its Creative Director and went on to work as an Art Director at Concept Communications in Brisbane, Australia.

Over the years, he has been entrusted with 3 major local and 6 international projects which he executed successfully with finesse. They include:

  • The design for four stamps to mark the centenary celebrations of the Ceylon Tea Board in 1967
  • A one month study tour of Europe in 1983 to keep abreast of the latest innovations in the graphic art, print production and ceramic techniques
  • A 100ft long terra cotta mural for the Department of Small Industries of Sri Lanka in 1989
  • Six large painting for the Holiday Inn Hotel, Colombo in 2005
  • A 28ft long mural for the Maldivian Air Taxi Terminal, Maldives in 2006
  • A large painting in 2007 for the Queen Elizabeth Foundation, Surrey, UK
  • Eleven acrylic paintings in 2008 for the Maldivian Air Taxi Lounge, Maldives.


  • 1961 1st Solo Exhibition at Studio Times, Colombo.
  • 1966 Solo Exhibition of Paintings “Some Poems I Have Read”, Colombo.
  • 1975 Exhibition of Paintings, under auspices of Department of Cultural Affairs.
  • 1976  Exhibition of Paintings, Ceramics, Sculptures, Oils, Murals , Sponsored jointly by  Sri Lanka- German Cultural Institute and  Ceylon Intercontinental Hotel- Colombo.
  • 1978 Solo Exhibition of Paintings “Sambudu Siritha” (Lord Buddha’s Teachings), Colombo.
  • 1978 Solo Exhibition of Paintings “Sambudu Siritha” (Lord Buddha’s Teachings), Colombo.
  • 1990 – Paintings and Pottery Exhibition in Melbourne, Australia.
  • 2004 – Exhibition of Paintings & Studio Ceramics at Fingara Club, Sri Lanka.
  • 2008 – Exhibition of Paintings in Sotogrande, Spain.
  • 2012 – Exhibition of Paintings ‘BUDDHARAJA’, Lionel Wendt Gallery, Colombo.
  • 2012 – Exhibition of Paintings ‘BUDDHARAJA’ at the Gangaramaya Gallery, Colombo.
  • 2012 – Exhibition of Paintings ‘BUDDHARAJA’ at Jayawardenepura University, Colombo.
  • 2014 – Exhibition of Paintings ‘Life’s Mortifs’ at the JDA Perea Gallery, Colombo.
  • 2018 – Contemporary Painting & Sculpture Exhibition at Sakya Gallery- Sama Foundation, Battaramulla, Srilanka 


  • 1978 “Exhibition of Paintings by Asian Artists” in Zagrebev, Bulgaria. (Three Paintings added to Bulgarian Government art collection.)
  • 1978 “Indian Triennale Exhibition”, New Delhi.
  • 1979 “Asian Artists’ Exhibition”, Fukoka, Japan.
  • 1981 “Asian Artists’ Exhibition”, Dhaka, Bangladesh and led Sri Lankan Delegation to Conference.
  • 1989 “Exhibition” sponsored by Department of Small industries, Sri Lanka, London.
  • 1990 Joint Exhibition of paintings with Sri Lankan artist Upasena Gunawardane.
  • 1992 – Exhibition organized by E.D.B, Adelaide, Australia and study tour of Pottery & Ceramics in Australia and Taiwan.
  • 1994 – ‘Tokyo Gift Fair’, Japan under aegis of E.D.B, Sri Lanka.
  • 1996 – Fellowship on Studio Pottery, Organized by UNIDO, Czech Republic.
  • 1997 – ‘Ninth Triennale’ National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India.
  • 1998 – Exhibition of Paintings with Korean Artists, Colombo.
  • 2001 – Island Arts & Crafts Exhibition at World Trade Centre, Colombo.
  • 2007 – Bianale Exhibition Visual Arts Sri Lanka, National Art Gallery, Colombo.
  • 2008 – Exhibition of Paintings at Mona- Bismark Gallery Paris, France.
  • 2016 – Group Exhibition ‘13 STROKES’ at Lionel Wendt Gallery, Colombo.
  • 2017 – Group Exhibition ‘WATER MARGIN’ at Lionel Wendt Gallery, Colombo.
  • 2017- Exhibition of ‘Watercolour Bianale’, New Delhi, India
  • 2018 – Exhibition of ‘Watercolour Fabriano” , Italy.
  • 2018 – Group Exhibition ‘WATER MARGIN-2’, Lionel Wendt Gallery, Colombo.
  • 2018 – 1st International Watercolor Biennale, Malaysia.
  • 2018 – 2020 Exhibition of ‘Watercolour Fabriano”, Italy.


  • 1959 Winner of the 2nd Prize and three Consolation Prizes at the Shell Painting Competition.
  • 1960 Winner of the 2nd Prize Poster Competition, Rubber Research Institute.
  • 1961 Winner of the 2nd Prize Poster Competition, Sri Lanka National Savings Bank.
  • 1961 Winner of the 1st Prize- Sri Lanka Anti- Crime Poster Competition, Sri Lanka Police Dept.
  • 1962 Winner of the 1st Prize- Road Safety Poster Competition, Sri Lanka Police Dept.
  • 1962 Winner of the 2nd Prize- Shell Painting Competition.
  • 1966 Winner of the 1st Prize and 2st Prize -International Rice Year, Postage Stamp Design Competition conducted under auspices of the WHO.
  • 1967 Winner of the 1st Prize- Poster Competition, Ceylon Cancer Society.
  • 1971 Winner of the 1st Prize- The Governor General’s Award- Oil Painting Competition, Ceylon Society of Arts.
  • 1973 Winner of the 1st Prize- Art Competition, Family Planning Association.
  • 1974 Winner of the 2nd Prize- Oil Painting Competition, Ceylon Society of Arts.
  • 1976 Winner of the 2nd and 3rd Prizes in Suzuken, Japan.
  • 1983 Winner of the 1st Prize- Logo Design Competition, Ceylon Transport Board.
  • 1983 Postage Stamp Design Competition on the theme: “Village Re-awakening” (GAM UDAWA), National Housing Department, Sri Lanka.
  • 1985 Winner of the 1st Prize in Sakura lanka Photographic Competition, International section and three consolation prizes. Won a  Trip to Japan.
  • 1988 Worked as one of the Five Art Directors at Concept Communications.
  • 1993 – His painting was selected for the ‘Seventh Saarc Summit – Dhaka, Commemorative Calendar published in Bangladesh.
  • 2000 – State Award for the ‘Best Book Cover of the Year 2009 – Finalist Award from the ‘International Artist Magazine, Australia.
  • 2012- Soilies Mendis Award for Artist of the Year, Ceylon Buddhist Congress.
  • 2016- Kala Bhooshana State Award.
  • 2020- Suwanda Padma Gold Award.


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