Day Care Centre for Vipulasena elders
government’s recent decision to introduce legislation to punish
guardians, who neglect and ill treat elders in their charge was
hailed by Pancha.
A fervent champion of the “under-dogs,” he immediately decided
to launch a similar campaign of his own.
This was after he experienced several instances of abuse of
elderly folk at Vipulasena Mawatha, as well as, in the by lanes
“Aluth neethiya yatathe, mama pudgalikavama megana balagannava.
Me vedahitiyanta karadara karana ayata viruddhava, policiyata
peminili karala, ovunta Honda danduvamak laba denava”. (“With
this new law in force, I will personally ‘take care’ of all
those who harass the elderly residents in their care and have
them fined and locked up after informing the police,”) he vowed.
Since many of these guardians/carers were ignorant about the
Rights of the elders in their charge he decided to first educate
them about these Rights. If they continued to ignore them, they
would be taken to court he warned.
To start off their worthy campaign, Pancha and his able campaign
partner Piyasena, first compiled a list of all the elders living
in and around Vipulasena Mawatha. For this, they personally
visited every home. During these visits they discovered another
sad truth, apart from the physical and mental torment that some
of them said they were subjected to, many elders complained
that, they were also very lonely and suffered from depression as
Living mostly with their extended families, the members, who
were out of the house all day and forced to spend their day
indoors with nothing to do and no place to go, they had become
withdrawn and lived in a world of their own.
“Me vedihitiyan anik ayatha ekke ashraya karanne kamathii.
Egollana thavath kenek ekka katha karanne kamathi. Egollannta
ahantha kiyawanne kamathi: natyhthnam egollo ekke podi gamank
yanne. Boho ayata thavath kenek ekke katha kireemata athi
nidahas nathi nisa, egollanta hongak manasika lede atha”. (“
These old folks crave for company. They long to have someone to
talk to them, to read to them, or go for a walk with them. Since
they don’t have any company for most part of the day, we found
that, many of them had developed mental problems, as well,”)
Pancha told us.
That was, when his partner Piyasena came up with the bright idea
of starting a Day Care Centre for the Elderly at Vipulasena
“ Meka amaru deyak nevei. Thenak netthnam, apita langa pansele
hamuduruwagen avasra arang, davasata tika kalakata mevani sevayk,
ape mahalu ayata laasthi karanne puluwan vei. Avasaran dune
naththnam, langa palliye paduru vahansegen his kamarayak
illaganne puluwan. Naththnam, kovile karamarayak illagnne
puluwan”. ( This is not a difficult task. All we need to do, is
to ask permission from the priest in charge of the nearby temple
to help us in this worthy cause on behalf of our elders. If he
refuses we can approach the church or the kovil,” he added.
Without further delay they then set off to the nearby temple to
seek permission from the priest for their new Day Care Centre.
It would function from 10 a.m to 12 noon. Alternatively, it
could operate from 2 p.m to 5 p.m, which was the time, their
families returned from work they told him.
Duly impressed by the idea, as well as the enthusiasm of the
duo, the priest readily agreed to their request.
Their next task was to pay some house visits. This was to get a
head count of those who wished to attend the new day care
centre. A total of 30 elders signed up gladly, saying they would
await the opening of the new centre with much anticipation.
The next task was their most difficult one: devising ways of
entertaining these elders. As they said, this seemingly easy
task was compounded by the wide age differences of the target
group, whose ages ranged from 60 to 85 years and their varying
However, after putting their heads together to pool ideas, and
after much discussion and consultation with the elders
themselves, the duo came up with a comprehensive list of
activities to suit all the elders. They included games requiring
physical skills as well as, mental skills: such as scrabble,
crossword puzzles, board games, carom, bridge etc. They also
invented games, such as: “ Let’s pretend”, where the elders
could imitate anyone they wanted to. Since, many of them were
averse to the current political jinks of our jumbo cabinet of
ministers, most of them opted to imitate the latest pranks of
their ‘MOST HATED POLITICIAN.’ This would soon prove to be a
great hit, once the new centre came into operation.
The day care was opened with much fan fare, shortly after May
Day, with Pancha’s papara band of merry musicians playing the
National Anthem with gusto, followed by a scintillating round of
popular baila numbers, with the elders, hip hopping and toe
hopping, with gay abandon.
Kopi Kade Sarath with his usual generosity, provided the
The centre was blessed by three religious dignitaries from the
temple, church and kovil. Other invitees included the Vipulasena
residents, who having unanimously approved of Pancha’s latest
project, offered to help him with refreshments, books and games
for an indefinite period of time.
Pancha has lined up a number of activities for the near future;
a monthly medical check up by a doctor, who has volunteered his
services free, a talk on ‘Diseases of the elderly and how to
avoid them,” a cookery demonstration, in which the elders could
participate and an outing to the Vihara Maha Devi park and the
museum are all on the cards, he tells me.
I wish him good luck and success to his newest venture, when I
pass him, on my way to work…
Young artists exhibit their
By Poornima Ravishan Wijemanne
Sankalana 2008, a painting exhibition by Tharindu Jayasinghe and
Prabuddhi Keshara was opened for public on the May 3 and will
continue till May 5 at the Lionel Wendt Gallery.
According to these young artists, this exhibition is a showcase
of their “experiments.” “The purpose of having this exhibition
was for us to experiment with different techniques and see what
it is possible to do with colours,” said Jayasinghe, a student
of the Social Sciences Faculty of the Kelaniya University.
“Also, this was our way of assessing our talent, seeing how the
people will receive our art,” added Keshara a former student of
Gampaha Yashodara Balika Vidyalaya, now awaiting university
The pair had been trying to organise the event for some time but
the effort had become successful only now. “An exhibition is
also a good opportunity for us to improve ourselves. With a firm
purpose to force us to keep drawing, we can keep the creative
vein alive,” said Jayasinghe.
The paintings are not centred on any singular theme. Even
individually, the paintings do not carry any ‘message;’ they are
just exercises in various techniques. Various landscapes,
still-life images, portraits are drawn with water colours, oil
paint and pastels. In one painting, a stone bridge over a river
is drawn with the translucence of water colours, there a statue
of the Buddha is formed with the opaqueness of pastels – the
artists show that they have a fair knowledge of techniques, and
of contrastingly different ones.
By looking at a painting, a person can enjoy the colours,
appreciate the skill with which a certain impression is
contained in a certain technique, reproduced in a piece of
scenery and then immediately see the decorative value of this
sort of art. But the paintings do not have a story to tell. Of
the collection, the Bridge drawn by Jaysinghe, with water
colours does communicate some haunting sense of loneliness,
coldness and hollowness. But most of the rest are only capable
of producing a momentary impression.
When asked whether they were interested in giving a ‘message’
through their painting, they said that for them prowess of
technique comes foremost. “For now, the most important thing for
us is improving our techniques. And since this is our first
exhibition, we are keen to show people how much we know about
the traditional techniques,” said Jaysinghe.
Commenting on the present day Sri Lankan art scene, they said
that talent does exist, but in Sri Lanka, it is not identified
without formal academic qualifications. “We are trying to first
make a name for ourselves by qualifying ourselves formally for
what we do. I think it is the best way that we can make the
people accept what we have to say to them,” said Keshara.
The Degree Show at Barefoot Gallery
kaleidoscope of imagination
By Shabna Cader
The Degree Show is the first off-campus exhibition of the final
year students of the Visual Art and Design Unit of the
University of Kelaniya.
The exhibition displays a selection of installations, paintings
and video art, aimed to express their visual approaches and
imagination. The creations are based on their own life
experiences and values.
The creations of 10 students from the university are on display
at the Barefoot Gallery from April 24 to May 10. The stunning
style of design, the brilliant colours of the rainbow, and sheer
passion of their work is indescribable. As I entered the
gallery, I was amazed by their abilities and their thoughts and
ideas intrigued me.
Fantasy Friends by P.R. Sanjula Kaumudi Karunarathna was a
spectacular work of art. Consisting of perhaps 1,000 beads and
mini-bulbs, it also included transistors and glass balls. The
piece was created on two walls and took up part of the ground as
Explaining the inspiration behind her creation, Sanjula said, “I
have an enormous interest in extraterrestrial life. Their
existence is quite a common question that all people ask and I’m
trying to answer the questions of whether they are real, where
they come from, etc., through my work. I do believe they exist
and that there is life other than on earth. The idea of my art
work explains that these creatures do visit earth on occasions –
there has been much evidence to prove this – and that they
cannot live here because of the corruption and development and
therefore return to their home,” she said.
Madduma Patabendige Shyamali’s work is called The Silent
Protest. Each item in her work has a meaning.
“Almost everyday we hear news about abortions, and everyone
talks about it but I feel that the news about it is very
limited. In villages it is talked about secretly. I feel that it
is a subject that is as important as the war and politics in our
country. I want to reveal what the newspapers don’t report about
the abortions in our country. I used many baby bottles to
symbolise a woman, as it does have that sort of a shape, and
also the picture on the cover is of pretty pictures. But
underneath all the prettiness, there are hidden meanings,” she
“For the babies I used flower buds as they say babies are like
yet-to-bloom flowers. I took the use of such buds also to
symbolise the taking away of the life of babies before they are
born. The wires I used to connect the ‘woman’ or ‘mother’ to
child is like the connections between a mother and child when
the child is in the womb. It is an endless process therefore I
took use of the entire wall for my art,” Shyamali added.
works include Rebuilding of My Body by J.M. Chithrapali Champa
Kumari using acrylic on canvas, photos and cloth; Western
Province by H.A.N. Chandani Hatharasinghe consisted of acrylic
on three printed maps; Masochism by W.L. Sandun Mahesh
Weerasinghe was of many mother boards, CD cases, photos and
insects; Dream Zone by B.M.C.C. Krishantha Basnayake using oil
on glass balls, a pillow and lots of colorful thread.
Still Life by M.A. Nelika Lakmini was of oil on four canvases;
Cooked Fashion by N.A. Amali Shrimani Kumari consisted of
acrylic on pans; My Share of Tsunami by R.M. Duminda Subhashana
was painted on broken-down car doors and revolved around his
experiences in Puttalam; and a work that was left untitled by
W.T. Dammika Sirimanne consisted of beans and wires of various
colours, cloth, ribbon and thread.