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Miss Nalini Jayasuriya - Art Teacher

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Miss Nalini Jayasuriya - Art Teacher

This is an article written by her To the College magazine regarding the Saturday Art Classes for the Lower School.

She was my Art teacher in Form 1A in 1959 & Form 2C in 1960.
I met her fifteen years later at Millers Fort and she remembered me by my name and recalled my drawings of birds. That year I got the Art prize.

Sri Lankan artist, Nalini Jayasuriya was raised by Anglican parents and has been a Christian since she was seven years-old. She has become a teacher, broadcaster, writer, musician, art director, painter, sculptor and potter. Her numerous talents have enabled her to travel around the world exhibiting and lecturing in top universities including Tokyo University, Tokyo Japan and in Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

She was also an artist in residence in Christian universities in Japan, Thailand, Philippines and the Overseas Ministries Studies Center (OMSC) in New Haven, Connecticut. Her book "A Time for my Singing" was published as a product of her residency in OMSC. Other publications by Nalini are "Cargo", a book of poems, "Letters from Ingy" and "When Jesus was Born". She is the recipient of Sri Lanka's highest honor for the arts, awarded by the former prime minister herself, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

Nalini prefers to use acrylic or watercolor on cotton for her paintings. Jonathan Bonk describes her work- "The pristine simplicity and flowing congruity of her art resonates with our own sometimes sadly latent spirituality- fostering within us a wistful longing for that which is deepest and best in our nature."

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The Saturday Art Class for boys of the Lower School is proving quite popular.

Nearly all the boys who came, voluntarily forego a morning's play to be able to come to school and paint, and judging by the work they do, it is obvious that they find enjoyment in it.

In the USIS Child Art Competition held recently in Ceylon, twelve paintings of the 3,068 submitted, were awarded prizes, and three of the lucky winners were Thomians. They were R. Thirukumar, (8 years) of Form II A, with his large 36" ? 18" painting of "Butterflies", A. J. Theograjah (9 years) of L 3 B, with his still life called "Flowers I took to my Teacher" and C. Rajendran (11 years) of U 3 A, with a fine oil called "Street with Houses."

The winners were entertained at a tea party at the American Embassy, and each was presented with a fifty rupee prize by the American Ambassador.

A few weeks back, we were informed, that in the International Drawing Competition for School Children, sponsored by UNESCO, and with "Museums" for a subject, two pictures from St. Thomas' College had been selected te represent Ceylon. The pictures were done by C. S. A. Perera (9 years) of L 3 C, and R. Balarajan (10 years) of U 3 A.

After a Child Art exhibition in London recently, Mr. Richard Carline of the Cambridge University, wrote an article on this subject, for the "Studio" Art Magazine, and for an illustration, he used the pictures of "Birds", done by A. M. Armitage (11 years) and C. R. Dixon (10 years) of U 3 B : these pictures were also used to make the cover page of the "Studio."

During nearly the whole of Term II, we have been working in the fine new Art Room, specially renovated and furnished by the Warden. We are grateful to Mr. W. J. G. Beling for his advice and help, so willingly given in connection with the fitting up of this new room.

The boys thoroughly enjoy working here, and have produced some delightful paintings.

The large wall spaces were too much to resist, and some of the more enthusiastic young painters got to work on some large murals. By the end of the term, walls and pillars were all decorated, and an exhibition of these murals, along with some paintings and drawings, was arranged on Saturday, the 28th of July.

We had a number of distinguished visitors including Her Excellency Madame Shiroji Yuki, the wife of the Japanese Ambassador, a well - known painter herself, who has studies painting both in Japan and Europe for a number of years, and she was very impressed by what she saw.

The murals have been done by groups of boys of the Lower School between the ages of 6 1/2 and 11 years.

All that is left unpainted in the Art Room, are the tops of the pillars quite close to the ceiling, and the ceiling itself.

I have been told on more than one occasion, that it is an utter waste leaving these large areas unpainted ; it has also been argued that getting up to twenty feet or so is a simple matter with thirty odd box type stools available : however in spite of all this, I think the ceiling is going to remain white.

A film show including two instructional films called "Colour in Clay". and "Pottery without a Wheel", and film showing the masterpieces of European painters called "Open Window", was given on the 24th of July by kind courtesy of the U. K. Information Service and British Council.

All the films shown were excellent, and most enjoyable, and we look forward to having the privilege of seeing more of these films in the near future.

As this has been a busy term, we have not had the opportunity of doing any excursions. Next term however, we hope to be able to go out and do some sketching.