43 Group

A Chronicle of Fifty Years in the Art of Sri Lanka

Neville Weereratne

The Sapumal Foundation

Harry Pieris set up the Sapumal Foundation in 1974 for: the advancement of education: cultural activities: research: and the relief of poverty, at his home at 32/4 Barnes Place, Colombo 7, thus establishing the means for perpetuating, among other things, the work of the ‘43 Group which he had himself guided with such unabated enthusiasm for most of the fifty years of its story.

The foundation aims at the development of education and educational, scientific and cultural activities through grants in the form of scholarships, foans and allowances; through the granting of bursaries to deserving Sri Lankans engaged in any of the arts: through the establishment of a permanent gallery and library for the Fine Arts; and through grants for the relief of the poor.

So far, the foundation has sponsored a number of exhibitions of works by Stanley Kirinde, Bevis Bawa, Richard Gabriel, Ivan Peries and George Keyt. It has also engaged in book publication and has produced a volume of autobiographical essays, Briefly, by Bevis Bawa, and a collection of tributes to Harry Pieris.

Len van Geyzel bequeathed his vast collection of books to the foundation.

It was the aim of its founder to collect a million rupees to be invested for the benefit of the foundation’s aims. The Sapumal Foundation is an approved charity.

Sapumal is the flower of Sapu, Michelia champaca, a member of the magnolia family – a large, quick-growing tree, with long white pointed leaves; and scented, creamy white flowers. (Tropical Planting and Gardening; H.F.Macmillan – Macmillan & Co Ltd 1962)