Not many can draw, although many wish they could. Making a drawing lifelike, using coloured pastels and crayons is a gift only a few artists possess. Performing this magic with coloured ballpoint pens can be only a god given gift to an artist.
Wel Henage Shashintha Dilhani is a gifted artist with an outstanding talent in carbon pen art and drawing live portraits. The 23-year-old aspiring artist is a final year undergraduate at the University of Visual and Performing Arts studying in the Department of Printmaking.
“I enjoyed drawing since I was a kid but I started to learn Art as a subject when I was in grade 10,” Shashintha recollected. She received her primary education at G/Thalagaspe Kanishta Vidyalaya and continued her secondary education at G/Batapola Central College. After finishing her ALs in 2012 in Arts she entered the University of Visual and Performing Arts.
Shashintha conducted her first solo exhibition in 2010 in her village of Elpitiya. “I did my first exhibition when I was waiting for my OL results with the collection of drawings I had with me,” said Shashintha. Again on March 20 and 21, 2013 she conducted her second exhibition, ‘Manu Lo Siththam’ at the Colombo Public library.
The exhibition consisted of about 120 portraits and 40 other drawings. “All portraits were of famous personalities, actors and actresses in Sri Lanka,” Shashintha said. As Shashintha pointed out she uses all media for her drawings including carbon pens, water colour, colour pencils, oil and pastel. Other than that she does mix media art as well. But her forte is doing live portraits.
“Earlier I used to do portraits looking at photos. But since 2011 I started to draw live portraits and now I can draw live portrait pencil sketches within 30 minutes,” said Shashitha merrily.
You may even have seen her at special events, weddings, school seminars and live television programmes busy with her live portraits. Other than that she draws arts for kids’ learning packages and story books. She undertakes orders to draw portraits and they are priced above Rs.5000 depending on the media used.
“Last time when I held the exhibition I gifted some portraits to some of my favourite personalities including W.D. Amaradewa,” said Shashitha. “Drawing has been my hobby since I was a kid and now it has become a field I want to master. At the same time, drawing has become my source of extra income during my university life,” said Shashitha thankful for her outstanding talent. “I love drawing and I want to make it my profession.”
Meanwhile Shashintha said that she is planning to have another exhibition within the next two years.
She has showcased her talents in arts at island-wide since she started learning Arts as a subject. Shashintha won the all island first place in 2011 in an art competition organized by the National STD/AIDS Control Programme of the Ministry of Health.
In the Acron ‘Ridi Siththam’ Art Competition organized by Thushara Art Circle she was awarded the all island competency certificate in 2010, all island award of excellence for water colours in 2011 and all island second place in 2012. Shashintha has shown her true colours in the International Mona Lisa Awards Ceremony 2010 winning the first place in the all island art competition ‘Ananda Rajakaruna Memorial Children’s Art Competition’.
Again in 2010 Shashintha won the special merit award in the National Water Safety Week Open Poster Competition organized by the Health Education Bureau of the Ministry of Health in collaboration with UNICEF. Shashintha has won the all-island first, second and third places in many art competitions including with Homerun Pas Art Competition.
Other than drawing, writing poetry and learning Hindi are among her other pastimes. “I have a passion for Hindi language. I studied it for ALs and I love to study it further,” she said.
During her spare time she writes poetry and has won many free verse competitions as well. In the free verse competition organized by Ambalangoda Ruhunu Poetry Association she won the third place in 2008 and the first place in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Shashintha said that when compared to other countries, especially European nations such as Italy the standards of Sri Lankan art is relatively low, yet it is at an appreciable level. It probably has much to do with people’s perspective of art. “Different people consider art differently. Some think art is unnecessary, that it is easy to just get a printout rather than draw,” she said.
A few young artists have started a Facebook group, which Shashintha is also a part of, to conduct many more exhibitions in order to change people’s perspective of art. “We wish to get advice from professionals in the field for this program,” she added.
Shashintha can be reached through her Facebook page Shashintha Dilhani Art or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.