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Date(s) - 13/03/2022
5:00 pm


You are invited, to join us for an evening of friendship,
tea, food, and an entertaining talk….


At our next meeting
Prof Anoma Pieris
will present an illustrated talk on
“Mrs. B, BMICH and the Non-Aligned
Summit Architecture”


The fifth Non-Aligned Movement summit in Colombo hosted by Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s
1970-77 government was a spectacular international event, unlike any other held previously
in the city, not for its pomp and ceremony, but for its anti-imperialist politics, its call for
nuclear disarmament and, above all, its delegates, leaders of newly decolonised nations
seeking ‘Third World Solidarity’. Indira Gandhi, Anwar Sadat, Muammar Gaddafi, Cardinal
Marcos, and others, glided by in two-toned maroon-and-cream Holden Statesman
sedans, and Josip Broz Tito in his six-door Mercedes Benz limousine, cheered on by waiting
crowds. Dignitaries were accommodated in American-designed multinational hotels
completed during the 1970s, and the host venue for the conference was the China-designed
BMICH, Lanka’s first indoor air-conditioned auditorium complex. What do you remember of
that period and its events? Of import substitution, limited foreign influence and relative
penury but at the same time the sense of being visible and international as a key player in
South-South politics. Of multiple donor nations and nimble diplomacy. Using the lens of the
architecture associated with the Non-Aligned Summit, this talk describes how successive
strategies for political self-determination were inscribed in Colombo’s built fabric.

Prof Anoma Pieris
is an architectural historian and a professor at the Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne.
She has published widely on topics including the following books on Sri Lanka, Sovereignty, Space and Civil War
in Sri Lanka: porous nation (2018); Architecture and Nationalism in Sri Lanka: the trouser under the cloth (2012)
and Imagining Modernity: the architecture of Valentine Gunasekera (2007).
Sunday, 13th March 2022, 5.00pm
at ASHWOOD HALL 2 (small hall)
21a Electra Avenue, Ashwood
for enquiries contact Hemal 0427 725 740

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