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Untouched | Sri Lanka

I decided to name this upcoming series of illustrations inspired by my last trip to Sri Lanka, with the first word that came to my mind when I was there. This island’s beauty, which can sometimes be underestimated by its’ punishing history, has been a place I wished to visit for a few years, for many different reasons. During my stay at the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, in Ahangama, I had glimpse of what it’s like to be part of a small yet strong and present community of local people and foreigners who’ve made this place their home. And it also felt like one for me despite my short stay, I found lots of contrast in life in this small beach town, from a bustling busy town center to a calm oasis in the middle of the jungle just a tuk-tuk ride away. This abrupt contrast not only gave me perspective on the thin line between a modest living situation and a more privileged one to say so, but also inspired me to create more vividly and freely, without judgment towards my own style and approach to my work. I took the chance to apply different techniques in my drawing process and free myself from techniques I normally stick to and feel comfortable with. Having this freedom while drawing felt all encompassing with how I spent my time in Ahangama, from early morning surfing to letting the hot afternoons decide what would be the next chilled spot to head to, to spontaneous evenings full of positive energy and nice music.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon a place where a great community of foreigners had come together and where connecting with likeminded individuals was nothing to be surprised about . I met so many inspiring, open-minded, kind, and talented people that supported my work and shared it with others which made me feel freer and allowed me to expose myself and my art in a way I hadn’t done before.

I overall felt I carried this carefree feeling along my whole stay, as I didn’t feel the need to be attached to things I would normally be in my daily routine. Letting go of a more material way of living inspired me to also become more loose and open in my creative process.

Before starting my trip, I had no set plans for my second week in Sri Lanka, as I didn’t know what I was going to feel like doing. The first days I spent there I could already sense there was unity in the way that everyone was following the same rhythm at their own pace and that’s what brought to me this warm and secure feeling in this little surf town that made me want to spend the two weeks of my trip here.

My main motivation to visit Sri Lanka was to surf, but also to discover its culture. Another of my purposes for this trip was to bring along my sketchbooks and work during my stay. This scenario was a new working situation for me as I normally tend to draw in my studio, where I’m isolated and free from any eyes glancing at what’s happening in the pages of my sketchbook. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and let others be curious and interact through my live work and also become less self conscious about my messy and spontaneous sketches, because they’re part of the process,. I made any place I found nice and breezy to sit at my studio.

If you happen to be in Ahangama you can find some of my prints and original art at:
  • Studio Mukti
  • X9C7+MWR, Ahangama
  • Art & Surf Cafe
  • 78 Matara Rd, Ahangama 80650

Stay tuned for new prints inspired by the the vivid colors and warm salty water of Sri Lanka

Thank you Siriwan Fern for capturing these photos. (@siriwanchmprn)

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