Ivan Peries, Temple Flower, oil on board (1987)

Shalini Ganendra’s impact on cultural development has been defined by over two decades of informed project and educational engagement. Through specific programming, research, publication, and overarching commitment to transnational discourse, she has increased focus on, inter alia, the distinct and longstanding creative practices of the South and South East Asian Regions. Her strengths include: creative and strategic though; expedient and economic project delivery; and multi-disciplinary knowledge grounded by her legal education and cultural work.
Notable projects include: Vision Culture Lectures, a UNESCO Observatory endorsed five year series which culminated in a dedicated Arts in Asia UNESCO Observatory publication; Gallery Weekend Kuala Lumpur, a pioneering annual cultural marquee featuring multi-disciplinary local and global constructs; Artists and Research Residencies; and targeted, creative education modules. These cultural endeavours of soft diplomacy have brought focus and recognition to regions and creative practices. 

Furthermore, Shalini has advised ministries and corporates on quality cultural development. She organised pioneering exhibitions or regional modern and contemporary art in cities, including Kuala Lumpur, London and New York. In addition to research and publication, she continues to develop scholarship and research modules. Her expertise lead to important appointments as a Visiting Scholar at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

For the duration of her cultural tenure, She has advised government, collections, auction houses and institutions. She was the first Sri Lankan art expert to be appointed to the Tate Gallery, Acquisitions Committee and has served on numerous cultural judging panels, namely: Sovereign Art Prize, HK; Caochangdi PhotoSpring Festival (Les Rencontres d’Arles Photography Festival), Beijing; Smithsonian Institution’s SARF program (Smithsonian Artist Residency Fellowship); and the Commonwealth Foundation Art Awards.

Committed to quality education, she is a founding Board Member of the English Speaking Union, Malaysia (2003), where she has initiated pioneering English language projects including with Malaysia’s Ministry of Education. As a past President of the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Malaysia, she led a series of talks to make Oxbridge more accessible and rooted in the local community. She sits on the Cambridge University, Trinity Hall Advisory Board, to provide guidance on thoughtful development constructs and outreach strategies.

Shalini is Sri Lankan born and a Malaysian national. She was educated in the US and UK, graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy where she was made a Life Harkness Fellow. She read law at University of Cambridge, Trinity Hall, has a LL.M. from Columbia University Law School and is a qualified Barrister and New York Attorney.

Select Publications

Handmade in Serendhip. Sri Lanka’s Craft Narrative, educating in the Crafts, The Global Experience.

Publisher Springer, Netherlands

Discovering Joseph Lawton, Pitt Rivers Museum Photograph & Manuscript Collection, 2020

Arts in Asia Issue of the UNESCO Observatory, Gallery Weekend Kuala Lumpur, Cultural Modules

– Case Study, Guest Editor, 2021

The Tin Mine Landscapes (Photography), Fabrications

– The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand 2019

Threading Tales, Bhutan’s Weaves, Robb Report, 2019

Arts in Asia Issue of the UNESCO Observatory, Guest Editor, 2016

Seeing the Bigger Picture, Art in Basel, Edge Publications, 2018

Culture Connoisseur bi-monthly series, The Grid Publication 2016-2017

Art Review, Bazaar Art, Malaysia 2015

Art Funds, Edge Publications, Malay Mail, November 2013

Art in Investment, Malaysia Unreserved, September 2013

Art in Emerging Regions, Robb Report, Singapore, 2010

Twenty Years in Review, National Art Gallery of Malaysia Journal, March 2010

The State of the Art, The Peak, August 2009

Peradaniya Gardens, Sri Lanka, Paradise Found, Journey through Noble Gardens of Asia, 2008

Perspectives on Malaya – Photographic Stories, Asian Art Newspaper (UK), November 2007

Perspectives on Malaya – Photographic Stories, Asian Art Newspaper (UK), November 2007

The Journal of Sri Lankan Art, Mood Indico (USA), March 2007

An Island of Art – Sri Lankan Contemporary, Asian Art Newspaper (UK), November 2006