This was written by me in March, 2000
Having seen some extraordinarily beautiful paintings that were done by a young village lass, I was desperate to meet the artist. She lived in a very remote typically traditional village on the outskirts of Mihinthale, Anuradhapura. I visited the artist personally with a teacher of mine on Sunday the 24 of March 2002. The road to her village was through some beautiful rice fields and a lush jungle. Most fascinating sight was the ancient Maha Kanadarawa reservoir.
We were warmly welcomed by the artist herself, a 20 year old, clad in a traditional dress called ‘cheeththa’. The whole appearance of Nilminimala, the artist, looked more like one of her own paintings. This typically shy village lass had something that most Sri Lankan girls do not possess – hazel eyes. One cannot accept the fact that she is an amateur in painting. The colors she uses, though very cheap ordinary water colors, are amazingly matching. The painting which caught my eyes was the ‘blue lady’s painting done only with different blue shades of the color blue.
She draws oil paintings as well. Most of her paintings depict rural village scenes with shepherds, beautiful damsels, people working in rice fields, girls bathing in rivers, etc. Having asked why she paints village scenes she says, “That’s all I see in and around the village. I’m fascinated by the surroundings. I wonder why the city people mock at these villages for the simple fact that the villages are rural. Yes we don’t have the facilities the city folks have, but we have the freedom and the calmness which you’ll never have in a city.”
I too understood that it is the environment that produced this budding artist. She must be the luckiest person to have a mother who teaches in the village school, and a parent who encouraged the child to choose a field like painting in spite of the fact that such proficiency do not have a demand in the job market.
To my question about her future aspects as a professional painter, her replay was;
“I love painting and I do it for fun. I can spend hours on a painting. It takes a long time to finish a good painting”.
Unfortunately she doesn’t know the real value of her own paintings. She says that her paintings have never been appreciated except by her mother and other teachers who taught her art of drawing.
I showed some pictures that I had edited with a computer and she was greatly impressed and was keen to learn it. Her deep interest indicated that she has the potential of becoming a most talented computer graphic artist too. Buying a computer with the necessary software is far above reach for her.
Nilminimala will be a part of Horizon and Horizon website would be decorated with her artwork with the next update.
Unfortunately this plan did not work. Had the plans went the exact way we expected, things would have been very different by now. She could have been the next Picasso. Such a talent going into the waste ………. Life is like that.