Uplifting Koulara village pottery
Koulara is a very remote village that is in close proximity to the
Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka.
This rural community has faced tremendous hardships with the loss of
their traditional livelihood over twenty years ago. These villagers, who
were skilled in brick making, were forced out of that occupation due to
their inability to compete with more efficient and large scale brick
making plants elsewhere and they had little option but to resort to
poorly paid menial labour at the local sugarcane plantation.
Merril J Fernando (MJF) Charitable Foundation adopted the isolated
and deprived village of Koulara, within its ‘Local Heroes’ initiative
with the objective to empower them in a more sustainable and rewarding
The ‘Animal Tracks’ pottery project which was introduced to Koulara
combining livelihood enhancement, empowerment of women and environmental
sustainability in a multifaceted project.
The MJF Foundation initiated the project together with its resource
partners International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the
Department of Wildlife Conservation to combine resources in uplifting
this impoverished community.
This unique endeavour known as the ‘Animal Tracks’ pottery project has
restored to the Koulara community their traditional pottery skills, but
for the production of high value ornaments and souvenirs instead of
The project which was introduced to the village community of Koulara two
years ago, sought to encourage the community to abandon unskilled labour
occupations and embrace a more sustainable and rewarding livelihood,
that involves a revival of their ancient tradition.
The villagers are provided training in pottery through the guidance
of an MJF Foundation Resource Person Ajith Perera, one of Sri Lanka’s
most talented pottery craftsmen.
For nearly two years, Ajith has guided the Koulara community in the art
of pottery and today, this simple village community produces exquisite
items, which are valued by consumers around the world made available
through the Dilmah marketing network.
Today, this rural community is transformed and their creativity and
talent is appreciated around the world.
The continuing commitment of the Foundation in uplifting the lives of
the Koulara community was demonstrated in the special tea pot sale and
exhibition conducted in association with the Hilton Colombo.
“Each of the 200 tea pots that were displayed at the Hilton Colombo
lobby are the handcrafted creations of Ajith Perera, master potter and
mentor to the Koulara community,” said General Manager (GM) of Hilton,
According to Auvity, each and every teapot is unique which are all made
out of clay.
“We are selling these pots for a minimum price of Rs.3,000 where all
proceeds from the sale of these teapots would be channeled toward the
construction of a pre-school for the children of Koulara,” said Auvity.
of Paintings by Sujith Rathnayake
Here and There
May 13 – June 5 at The Alliance Française Auditorium
My father is a rural artist. I had a great interest in art from my
childhood but my art life became static and passive towards 2004. While
I was stuck between desire and fear, I experienced the December 2004
Tsunami disaster in Tangalle. Afterwards, I felt so isolated. The sky,
the Earth and the moon were the only witnesses of my plight. Time was
killing all my feelings.
This exhibition is called ‘Here and There’ not because it represents
art works that I did at different moments of my life as they were mostly
created in Colombo. I would also like to say that this exhibition also
doesn’t represent the theme of an evasive life and it is not a
retrospective. These are 24 art works that are very special to me,
selected among thousands of works that I have created since 1996. They
are so different from the other and I believe that they have a certain
“Montage Harmony” in them.
As part of cultural life, even cleaning the drains is considered as a
form of art today. It is also a terrorist act to make people believe
that there is no line of separation between what Art is and what is not.
It is an act of sabotage on the free society which surpasses
individuality. Magnifying a plug to the size of a ship is not art but a
This exhibition doesn’t present art works that were painted to create
a new trend or even to be exhibited. My signature and the date are not
mentioned on some of these paintings. In some of the 1996 works my
signature is different.
I can only develop these styles but I cannot reproduce because
reproducing art is a business where the artistic value is lost. I really
understood the true meaning of history after the Tsunami. History is
absurd... The same people who coexist with us have their own personal
project which has become their passion. Up until now no one has been
able to have an influence on my own art.
Office-bearers of the
Institute of Western Music and Speech for 2009/2010
At the Annual General Meeting of the Institute of
Western Music and Speech, Sri Lanka held recently, the following were
elected to hold office for the year 2009/2010.
Bernadette de Soyza - Chairperson - Examinations Board
Regina Sathasivam - Vice President (Music)
Louisa David - Vice President (Speech)
Faria Salie - Vice President (Social Activities)
Sharmalene Mendis - Hon General Secretary
Genevieve Rodrigopulle - Hon Treasurer
Maureen Silva - Hon Secretary- Examinations Board
Mary V. Fernando
C. Nilrukshi Foenander
Regina Sathasivam - Chairperson
Bernadette de Soyza - President
Lilani Peiris - Hon Secretary -Examinations Board
Board Members Music
Patricia de Silva
Board of Trustees