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Artist Dilani sees God’s hand in road to recovery

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Pastor Dishan De Silva of Bethany Christian Life Center in Rajagiriya (Left) lights the traditional oil lamp watched by the proprietor Dilani de Silva Pastor Dishan De Silva of Bethany Christian Life Center in Rajagiriya (Left) lights the traditional oil lamp watched by the proprietor Dilani de Silva

Dilani de Silva’s life was on a knife edge some years ago. She was depressed, angry and felt like a frog covered with a coconut shell. But there is a saying that one can’t keep a living thing covered with a coconut shell for long. Sooner or later, this living thing is going to turn the shell over and emerge from beneath. Dilani did just this. However, she wasn’t alone in this endeavor. She had doctors, therapists, and artists working with her to show her the way from the wilderness to the main road in the life’s journey.
Very recently, she opened an ornament shop at her residence in Ethul Kotte which displays creations by other talented artists like her. A common feature that most of these artists share with Dilani is that they all faced mentally-challenging periods in their lives. The shop was declared open by Pastor Dishan De Silva of Bethany Christian Life Center in Rajagiriya. Pastor Dishan said, during his speech, that it was more appropriate to say ‘God Bless’ rather than ‘All the best’ at times when people like Dilani try their hand at a business to better their lives.

Dilani is a Christian and said she felt God’s hand while travelling in this long road to recovery.

She vouches that these challenging times transformed her into a strong woman. Dilani, who is involved in many community projects, said, “I want to pull other depressed women out of the troubles they are in”.

The shop at her residence is named Dil’s Creations. There she allows the sale of goods, manufactured by mentally-challenged people, under the banner ‘Mindful Creations’. It was last year that Mindful Creations was established for the patients of the National Institutes for Mental Health (NIMH) in Angoda and Mulleriyawa and the volunteers attached to these two institutes to exhibit their creations.

A high standard of art can be witnessed in the soft toys, products made of paper pulp and the drawings that are up for sale at Dilani’s residence.

She was warded at the Mulleriyawa Hospital thrice with bouts of depression. After recovering, she found an art teacher at Art Gallery who showed her the way in the world of art with encouraging words. She asked whether a lady who’s 50 years old can enroll and learn art. She was thrilled when she was told that this institute had provisions to enroll  students up to age 80.

Dilani’s message to women who are experiencing hard times is to start a small business at home. “There were times when I had just one soft toy. I somehow sold it, and managed to live one day at a time,” she said.

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