The Geoffrey Bawa Trust is a non-profit, public trust established in 1982 by the late architect, with the objectives of furthering the fields of Architecture, the Fine Arts and Ecological and Environmental Studies
Botany and Batik: the Living Archives of Ena de Silva is an archival project and installation which explores the relationship between Ena de Silva’s explorations, observations, and collections as a naturalist and her Batik practice, a collective enterprise with a radically inventive approach to the traditional craft of Batik. Initially, Ena’s preserved botanical specimens from her extensive travels in Sri Lanka’s forests, her important library supplementing this collection and the Ena de Silva Foundation’s collection of batik works that are inspired from these botanical explorations will be archived and catalogued.
These works will subsequently be shown in situ at Ena de Silva’s house, designed by Bawa, which was relocated to Lunuganga from Colombo by the Bawa Trust when faced with demolition. One of the key 20th century urban houses in Sri Lanka, it is essentially archived in its new rural context. When Ena lived in the house, it was a vibrant studio in which her botanical and batik explorations were united. By working with key environmentalists who travelled with Ena, we will display the batiks alongside the botanical specimens which inspired them. The project will thus unite a broad spectrum of archival approaches, and the installation will provide a richly sensorial approach for understanding and engaging with the depth and breadth of Ena’s textile practice. This project would also serve as a conceptual model for alternative modes of ecological engagement.
The Geoffrey Bawa Trust is a non-profit, public trust established in 1982 by the late architect, with the objectives of furthering the fields of Architecture, the Fine Arts and Ecological and Environmental Studies. Since 2003, the Trust has sustained year-round public programmes comprising lectures, educational tours, scholarships, residencies, and exhibitions which engage broader discourse on the built environment, the arts, and ecology in both Sri Lanka and overseas.
The Ena de Silva Foundation will be a key collaborator with the Trust on this project, and Pramod Kumar, Managing Director of Eka Resources, will provide mentorship on the textile conservation aspects of this project.