Art is a beautiful language, a story understood by those who have the same passion. There are many reasons why we paint, for some it is pleasurable, for others it is a stress reliever, for some art can be a life saver. Our artist in conversation today is a wonderful lady who took it upon herself to create a beautiful collection of abstract art for a worthy cause. She plans to raise awareness on mental health and work towards improving the lives of those suffering from such issues in Sri Lanka. Dinusha T. Jayawardene is our artist in conversation today and we are privileged to bring this interview to you.
I have been painting since my childhood. I studied art when I was small and I always had a flare painting from watercolors and chalk. When at school, I remember I could paint or draw better than my peers, I think the encouragement I received from my younger days, helped me become a good artist. After my schooling ended, I developed a knack to create greeting cards and when it was possible, to paint on canvas.
My surroundings helped me to become an artist. My mum is a painter and I believe it is her influence which pushed me in the direction of art. I was once told, that my Grandma had questioned my mother as to why she sold a painting. There are some who find it difficult to let go of their art, but as for me I always think art is something to be shared and the tendency is to display my work.
Yes, I studied art the Sapumal Foundation and followed Cora-Abraham Art classes as well. I believe that having interests other than what we are primarily engaged in, adds color to our lives. I write when time permits as I am working on creating awareness on the importance of mental health to alleviate stigma in society. I also read and travel when possible. All of these help me to create some wonderful pieces of abstract art in color as I draw from my surroundings.
To begin my story, it is in 2016/2017 that I first started working on a collection and up to 2021, I have created 12 pieces of art. The main reason to create this collection is to raise funds to improve the lives of those with mental illness in Sri Lanka. I know what it feels like to be in a helpless position, as I suffered from a mental health breakdown. Looking back, I have realized that I used very dark, earthy shades at the beginning and later on when I was in the process of recovery, I have used brighter shades. Art, for me, is very personal, it is what is in your mind and how you perceive things. There is a beautiful relationship between our mental health and creativity, they are almost intertwined. I myself observe the difference between how I used to be and how I am today through the art I have created.
As I mentioned before, there is a positive connection between art and mental health. I have come to realize that it is a good form of relaxation as I work full time.
I plan to raise a substantial amount for mental health awareness through the sales of this collection. I partnered with Aartzy in 2020, yet I have not been able to generate a sale as yet. So I will continue to paint for a considerable amount of time, until my goals have been reached.
I consider myself an abstract artist and I use of lot of color in my paintings. My inclination is to become a colorist, even though certain periods in my life have shown otherwise. Abstract art is very individualistic and personal. I think, art is something to be shared and admired. It is a gift or a talent and those who receive it should decide what and how you choose to work with it.
It's refreshing that there is an online platform like Aartzy that is globally accessible to both professional and amateur artists, especially those who pursue art professionally/ as a hobby in Sri Lanka have an avenue to showcase their works globally. I remember speaking to Aartzy founder, Janaka Perera in 2020 and explaining that my aim in showcasing my artwork on Aartzy would be a little different from the norm as it's for a charitable cause, and he was accommodating- I have found working with Aartzy a pleasant experience.
Manesha Pieris (2022)