Found between Bentota and Alutgama, the Brief Gardens have been a popular excursion of the international traveller. Requiring nearly a 10 km drive from the town, Brief Gardens provides for almost a jungle like retreat in the heart of the coastal region of Bentota.
The Gardens belong to Bewis Bawa, the brother of the famous architect Geoffrey Bawa. Bewis was a self-taught artist and as the Gardens clearly display he was a landscapist and a horticulturist. The chaotic presentation of the Gardens is aesthetic treat for visitors. The Brief Garden is laid out in an artful clutter with overgrown vegetation enhancing the unkempt beauty of the gardens.
There are a number of erotic sculptures scattered around the garden. The entrance of the garden is finished with rustic gates and two sculptures made by Bawa himself on either side of the gate. It is believed that the gardens are an allegorical reflection of Bawa’s carefree life style.
Bawa’s life alone was an interesting one. Descending from the former acting solicitor general Justice Benjamin Bawa and Bertha Marianne née Schrader, Bawa’s life was a comfortable one. He also served in the army where he had an illustrious career as a solider and was gradually promoted to rankings of Captain and Major.Initially a rubber estate that was a rubber plantation and was known then as the Brief Estate. Bawa developed the property since acquisition and until his death in 1992. Bawa hosted many important people in his villa in the Brief Gardens. Prominent locals include the legendary dancers Chitrasena and Vajira, the famous socialite Ena de Silva and more.
The gardens also relished the presence of international celebrities including Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Agatha Christie and the Australian artist Donald Friend whose primary plan was to stay for a week ended up staying for six years at Brief Gardens. Amidst all the splendour that the Brief Garden showcases, it also represents an era of social liberty.