Hikkaduwa, the small town by the beach is known as the beach party destination of the island. The main road is dotted with hotels, restaurants, and shops that offer clothes, tit-bits, musical instruments and even ART! The art galleries in Hikkaduwa have proven to be a crowd puller due to their location. If you take a walk on the road, it would be hard not to step into at least one of the galleries to take a closer look at the colourful paintings displayed out in the open displaying the culture and sceneries of the country. While a few present a more professional front with white washed buildings, most are small huts with loose planks for walls and floors made of mud or cement. Keep in mind some galleries may ask you to remove your shoes in order to protect their art pieces.
Owned by Vishmika Madushan, this art gallery fashioned to be a simple structure just to house his many paintings, is located by the road side of Hikkaduwa. With a more rustic appeal, the paintings housed in this gallery apart from the usual scenic ones gives way to thoughtful insights as well. Paintings rendered in black and white with lone figures of monks swathed in orange robes seem to take centre stage attracting the eye.
Saffron Robes is easily one of the most eye catching and well maintained art galleries at Hikkaduwa. Owned by artist G W Dileepa, the gallery is crammed between two other buildings in the busy Colombo-Galle road and rise five storeys high. Within the art gallery, every nook and corner is filled with various art pieces and ornaments, mostly done by the artist himself or by his friends. The white washed walls provide a more spacious appearance to the narrow structure, and better showcase the vibrant pieces of work. Saffron Robes mostly comprise of canvases that depicts the country’s breathtaking landscape, culture and even religion. However, the gallery also carries a handful of specially designed clothes, batik items, sculptures made out of discarded material and small souvenir items as well.
As the name suggests, the gallery mainly focuses on surf art, though it houses many more varieties, all canvas pieces. Walls painted in white to better attract the eye to the colourful pieces, and floors neatly lined with tiles, draws in the passerby due to its neat and crisp look. Run by Sumudu Rasanga, there are two galleries one that is open throughout the year and the other that is only open from November to April. The most prominently displayed pieces are of surfers that the artist has tried to capture in action.
Snuggled in a corner of the road, red cement floors and glass paneled windows rimmed with blue ushers one into the Sun Seen Art Gallery, owned by K C Thushara. Paintings of various shades, mainly showing the cultural and scenic aspects of the country, hung on the white washed walls while some are aligned against the wall on the floor. Clear cut strokes as well as precise colours seem to be the approach of this artist, who leaves the gallery in the trusted hand of his mother.
A few paintings positioned outside gives a glimpse into what is offered inside. Owned by artist Chamika Nanayakkara, the main focus of the artist seem to be people where he has attempted to capture different aspects of individuals, be it a monk, a violin player or even the features of a person, sharpened to portray an absolute perfection. While a few are hung on the walls, some are staked on top of each other next to walls and requires much shifting through to locate the piece that would appeal to you.