by Sagara Jayasinghe

Published in 2007 by Name of Publisher; available at leading book stores

In recording the art and architectural heritage of catholic churches in southern Sri Lanka, Architect Sagara Jayasinghe has evoked a beautiful architectural memory not widely known outside the province. The care and attention to detail of twelve churches in the Southern province, from the majestic St. Mary’s Cathedral in Galle to the quaint little Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Hambantota, could only be described as a labor of love.

Church architecture in southern Sri Lanka evinces an affinity to the physical context rooted in a faith community that created it and continues to nurture it. The simple, yet evocative images of the buildings, furniture and ornaments of these repositories of faith capture the context well and point us to the rich and varied traditions of contemporary architecture in the region. The beauty of the book is in its subtle pointing to the architectural heritage of these buildings, without cluttering the narrative with side stories and blind alleys that would have distracted the reader from the main story.

A historical record of the architectural heritage should not only preserve for posterity the rich and varied traditions of a geographical location, but also point to the social and physical context that gave rise to it. This record of a particular slice of the architectural heritage of the region does both. When graphical elegance and loving care are added to this story, the result is magical. Dwellings of Faith is one such magical and evocative record of a part of our architectural heritage not previously told so lovingly.

Reviewed by Prof. Rohinton Emmanuel