Paddy Girl vows to help children with autism | Sunday Observer

Paddy Girl vows to help children with autism

When will one grow out of fairies and fairylands? Or, does one ever grow out of them?

Pushpa Pathmaperuma in her late seventies wanted to bring back fairies into centre stage as the grand finale in her long spanning career of over 50 years.

“As soon as I contemplated holding this exhibition I was trying to figure out a way of initiating it. My partner, Nayomi Kularathne and I then thought of a baby, her life from infancy, when she is surrounded by fairies, up to the time she grows into adulthood. This would be our main theme,” she explained the outlook that is to be portrayed at the exhibition of handmade dolls and other soft toys.

‘The Story of the Paddy Girl’ is a charity started by the Pathmaperuma family with the objective of helping children suffering from autism, and their families. It was with this thought that the suggestion had come up to give the project the same name.

What was planned to be a small affair had transformed into a large scale project.

‘The Story of the Paddy Girl’ starts with the setting of mother and father carrying the baby Paddy Girl. All figures, birds, animals and fish are carefully handcrafted by Pushpa Pathmaperuma and her never failing teammates, the members of her family.

“We are here with my sisters and sisters-in-law, who are helping me to finalise the exhibition, to tie up any lose ends,” she said.

Every stage of Paddy Girl’s life will be demonstrated separately, with a different story line in the backdrop. Her childhood and times spent in the fairyland with fairies will surely not fail to take anyone back to their childhood.

“There is another stage of Paddy Girl where she prays to God, which portrays her spirituality. In yet another stage, Paddy Girl visits the bunny house and peeps through the window to see what Bunny’s mother is cooking,” Pathmaperuma explained.

An ardent fan of Beatrix Potter stories, Pathmaperuma said, she wanted to create the same atmosphere of the fairyland depicted in Potter’s books through her exhibition. This is explicitly demonstrated in a segment of the exhibition which depicts a tea party hosted by Paddy Girl with her friends.

Her long career of making dolls and soft toys has brought her pure joy. A venture she started on a very small scale had seen her through the responsibility of bringing up her children and educating them. She didn’t stop at that point but continued with her venture with the hope of helping those who needed help.

“A few years back I made dolls in my spare time and would sell them. Mostly it was my sisters who bought them. The money I collected from those sales helped me make a contribution to families with autistic children in Wariyapola” said Pathmaperuma.

“This would be my last exhibition. I have devoted a great deal of my time this year making doll after doll. I dedicated most of my time to this project and every single rupee I earn from this exhibition would be given to the Paddy Girl charity,” she said.

The exhibition, scheduled to be held at the Lionel Wendt from December 14 to 16, from 8 am to 5 pm will be opened by Mrs. Hema Premadasa, the Chief Guest and Ms. Yalindrini Hemachandra, the Guest of Honour.

The exhibition will also showcase paintings by Jaya Ramachandra a talented artist, currently residing in Singapore.

“I hope, children and adults will both enjoy my exhibition. My objective is not to make a sale but for everyone to enjoy these creations as much as I do. Each doll is unique as they are separately, individually and lovingly created,” she said.