The Nelum Pokuna Mawatha was renamed as Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha by President Maithripala Sirisena today (10).
The road was originally named Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawathaas a tribute to one ofthe great Asian art historians of the twentieth century,because the road is next to the John De Silva Memorial Theatre and the National Art Gallery.
The main part of the road was named Nelum Pokuna Mawatha in 2011 to coincide with the opening of the Nelum Pokuna Theatre.
Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1877-1947) was one of the great art historians of the twentieth century whose multifaceted writings deal primarily with visual art, aesthetics, literature and language, folklore, mythology, religion, and metaphysics. His most mature works adeptly expound the perspective of the perennial philosophy by drawing on a detailed knowledge of the arts, crafts, mythologies, cultures, folklores, symbolisms, and religions of both the East and the West.
He was born in Colombo, to the Ceylonese Tamil legislator and philosopher Sir Muthu Coomaraswamy and his English wife Elizabeth Beeby.
He served as curator in the Museum of Fine Arts until his death in Needham, Massachusetts, in 1947. During his long career, he was instrumental in bringing Eastern art to the West. In fact, while at the Museum of Fine Arts, he built the first substantial collection of Indian art in the United States.
He also helped with the collections of Persian Art at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Fine Arts.
In studies such as Medieval Sinhalese Art (1908), The Arts and Crafts of India and Ceylon (1913), and his earliest collection of essays, The Dance of Shiva (1918), Coomaraswamy combated the prejudices of the age and reaffirmed traditional understandings of Indian art.