Minnette de Silva has been enjoying a bit of a resurgence. Sri Lanka’s first modernist architect and the first Asian woman to be made an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, de Silva has had conferences dedicated to her in rarefied academic institutions and retrospectives in magazines. This year, she featured in an exhibition on post-independence architecture at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. This would have been unthinkable even two decades ago. Back then, she was an anomaly one could scarcely believe had existed at all. I heard of her only by chance, through an old friend—a London architect who briefly worked with her in the 1980s. Over the course of long and spirited conversations, he’d tell me about this extraordinary woman who knew Picasso, Henri Cartier-Bresson and the father of modern architecture, Le Corbusier. And she was Sri Lankan. I was intrigued. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Four Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 43 Peer Review: Edward Krasinski Curator Kasia Redzisz on the surreal wit of the avant-garde artist. Arts & Culture Films Music Issue 42 Peer Review Iranian artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat pays homage to the iconic Egyptian singer Oum Kulthum. Arts & Culture Issue 41 Peer Review Curator Alya Al-Mulla shares the legacy of Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine. Arts & Culture Issue 41 My Favorite Thing Architect Diébédo Francis Kéré explains the significance of his carved stool. Arts & Culture Issue 40 Olalekan Jeyifous On fantastical architecture and sci-fi Brooklyn. Arts & Culture Issue 38 Peer Review Andrew Durbin, editor of frieze magazine, on the magnetic allure of writer and photographer Hervé Guibert.